Laos Under Increased International Scrutiny During Military Crackdown

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Laos Under Increased U.S. Congressional and International Scrutiny During Military Crackdown, Ethnic Cleansing Offensive Against Hmong Civilians and Rebels. U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos, Laotian-American Congressional Policy Conference (LACPC} to Convene in U.S. Capital from September 19-21 to Address Growing Crisis: Emergency Plight of Laotian, Hmong Refugees in Laos and Wat Tham Krabok, Thailand, and Other Key Policy Issues, to be Discussed.

The U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos, the Laotian-American Congressional Policy Conference (LACPC), the Wat Tham Krabok Watch Committee (WTKWC) and the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) will hold a three-day (3) series of national policy events in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Congress, regarding current issues pertaining to the nation of Laos and Southeast Asia (from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on Sunday, September 19, Monday, Sept. 20, and Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004, U.S. Capitol, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.).

The LACPC and the U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos events are cosponsored and co-hosted in cooperation with a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress.

"Clearly, the Communist Pathet Lao regime is under increased U.S. Congressional and international scrutiny during its current military crackdown, and ethnic cleansing offensive against Hmong civilians and rebels," stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.

"The U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos and the Laotian-American Congressional Policy Conference (LACPC} will convene in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Congress from September 19-21, for three days, to seek to address this crisis as well as the emergency plight of Laotian and Hmong refugees in Laos and Wat Tham Krabok, Thailand," continued Smith, who also serves as the Washington, D.C. Coordinator for the Wat Tham Krabok Watch Committee (WTKWC) and a coalition of Laotian and Hmong organizations seeking political and economic reforms in Laos.

Smith continued: "With the return of the U.S. Congress following the August recess, and prior to the November elections, many key issues are now under serious debate in Washington, D.C., regarding Laos including whether or not to grant Normalized Trade Relations (NTR) status to the Communist Pathet Lao regime at this time, while it is engaged in a brutal and intense military crackdown against the Hmong and Laotian people that has sadly resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and casualties in recent months."

"Congress is likely to move to kill NTR legislation for the Pathet Regime this year because of their egregious, large-scale military operations against civilians and deplorable human rights record directed against the Hmong people," Smith stated.

"It also appears that the proposed, 'Titantic-like,' Nam Thuen II super-dam project will suffer an intense and catastrophic defeat once again this year in Washington, D.C., especially as the U.S. Congress apparently moves to intervene and seek to defeat financing for the project at the World Bank in the aftermath of the well-documented massacre of so many Hmong people by the Pathet Lao regime," concluded Smith.

TOPICS:

Issues and topics of discussion will include:

1.) Current issues of concern to U.S. and international policymakers regarding the nation of Laos and recent developments in Southeast Asia;

2.) Emergency developments regarding the Wat Tham Krabok program and the resettlement of Hmong and Laotians in the United States, including the recent arrest of 1500 Hmong asylum seekers at Wat Tham Krabok, and the recent high-level visit to Thailand by the Pathet Lao Defense Minister regarding this issue;

3.) Status and developments regarding the Ban Vang Tao asylum seekers and the Lao Students Movement for Democracy detainees;

4.) Nam Theun II Dam project and current status of potential World Bank backed financing and other issues, including environmental and human rights concerns and recent developments;

5.) Status of the ongoing debate--and legislation-- that will determine whether or not the U.S. Congress will grant the current government of Laos Normalized Trade Relations (NTR) status this year;

6.) H. Res. 402, legislation passed into law by the U.S. Congress in May, that seeks to promote elections, human rights monitoring and religious freedom in Laos;

7.) Official state news reports regarding intensified and increased intervention by Vietnam in Laos, in support of the Pathet Lao regime; and, a series of new, high-level announcements by Hanoi regarding joint military, defense and economic cooperation efforts and initiatives;

8.) The plight of Laotian and Hmong opposition and resistance groups trapped in Laos by the security and military forces of Vietnam and Laos;

9.) Increased and ongoing political violence in Laos by the Pathet Lao regime and opposition groups;

10.) Updates on religious persecution issues in Laos, including new reports and information;

11.) Other current and developing issues of concern to U.S. and international policymakers.

INVITED SPEAKERS & PARTICIPANTS:

Administration, U.S. Congressional and international policymakers as well as scholars, Laotian and Hmong-American leaders,political and religious dissidents, student activists, NGOs, non-profit organizations, business leaders, community activists and others.

Key Members of Congress, and Congressional staff, active on international relations issues will also participate and speak.

The events will include a national policy conference for training, education and leadership development as well as special two-day session of the U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION:

Space and seating are limited and by invitation only. Invited participants are required to fax their registration to (202) 318-0266 no later than Friday, September 17, 2004, so that participation can be confirmed.

Inquiries may also faxed to the above fax number or e-mailed. LACPC E-Mail contact and inquiries should be directed to:

CPPADC@hotmail.com

Center for Public Policy Analysis

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 318, Washington, D.C. 20006

Tele. (202) 543-1444 Fax (202) 318-0266

Contact:

Ms. Anna Jones or Ms. Xoua Kue of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)

Tele. (202) 543-1444 Fax (202) 318-0266

LACPC E-Mail Contact: CPPADC@hotmail.com

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Ms. Xoua Kue or Ms. Anna Jones
CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS
(202) 543-1444
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