[Congressional Record Volume 148, Number 139 (Thursday, October 24, 2002)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1958]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    COMMENDING THE LAO AND HMONG-AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF RHODE ISLAND

                                 ______
                                 

                        HON. PATRICK J. KENNEDY

                            of rhode island

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, October 24, 2002

  Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island. Mr. Speaker, concerned individuals and 
organizations from the Laotian-American community in my district in 
Rhode Island and throughout the United States participated in key 
sessions of the U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos, held on both July 17 
and October 1, 2002, in the U.S. House of Representatives. They 
presented testimony and provided critical information to the Congress 
about the deteriorating human rights situation in Laos and the plight 
of missing Lao student leaders, political and religious dissidents as 
well as the ongoing persecution and horrific massacre of minority 
peoples, including the Hmong people in the closed areas of Saysamboun 
Special Zone and Xieng Khouang Province.
  Mr. Speaker, right now many Laotian and Hmong-Americans in Rhode 
Island have family members who are still suffering and dying in Laos 
under the brutal Pathet Lao regime. I am concerned that Laos remains a 
one-party Communist system that has nearly bankrupt the nation--both 
economically and morally, in terms of the lack of basic human rights 
and fundamental freedoms, including lack of religious freedom.
  Mr. Speaker, it is important to honor and thank Mr. Thongsavanh 
Phongsavan, and his colleagues from North Providence, Rhode Island, who 
have helped to so honorably represent the Laotian-American community in 
Rhode Island as well as the Lao-American Council and the Lao 
Progressive Institute of Rhode Island. I also want to recognize and 
commend Mr. Philip S. Smith, Executive Director, of the Center for 
Public Policy Analysis for his important work and leadership in helping 
to coordinate the U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos with Members of 
Congress as well as assisting the freedom-loving people of Laos in 
Rhode Island and elsewhere in the Laotian Diaspora community. Special 
recognition and thanks also to: Mrs. Nouamkham Khamphylavong, Mr. Aly 
Chantala, Mr. Oudong Saysana and the members of the ``Lao Students 
Movement for Democracy''; Mr. T. Kumar, Amnesty International; Ms. 
Christine Hines and Mr. John Tai, of the U.S. Commission on 
International Religious Freedom; Mr. Paul Martin, U.S. Department of 
State; Mrs. Kay Danes, former Australian political prisoner in Laos; 
Mr. Makram Ouaiss, National Democratic Institute; His Excellency Kat 
Dittavong, former Royal Lao Ambassador to Thailand 1973-75; Mr. Prakian 
Viravong, of the ``December 14'' organization, as well as a 
distinguished Lao poet and author; Mr. Khampoua Naovarangsy, of the 
Laos Institute for Democracy; Mr. Bounchaloune Phouthakhanty; Mr. Alan 
Sananikone, Col. Bounmee Sananikone, Mr. Bounthone Rathigna, Mr. 
Thongchanh Boulum, Col. Khamthene Chinyavong and Baramy Mitthivong, of 
the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc.; The Honorable Dr. Sin 
Vilay, of the Royal Laos Foundation; Mr. Bounleung Ngonevolalath; Col. 
Khambang Sibounheuang--decorated officer and ``White Dragon Two'' 
author--and his colleague, Mr. Eugene Prater, of the Lao Nationalist 
Reform Party; Bon and Laura Xiong, Hubert Yang, Chuhu Xiong, Xieng 
Xiong and Ying Xiong, of the Hmong International Human Rights Watch and 
Hmong Reform Party; Mr. Moua Sao, of Lan Xang Democracy, Inc. and son 
of the legendary Hmong resistance leader Cher Pao Moua; Dr. Kayasith 
Rattanavongkoth, of the national Laotian-American Association; 
Jacqueline Sun; Dr. Edward Samada, International Buddhist Fellowship; 
Pastor Pat Kearney; Pastor Sidney Kahn; Mr. Kingsavanh Pathammavong, 
researcher, Lao history and culture; Mrs. Bounchan Senthavong, Lao 
Community Advisor; Col. Thai C. Vang, Col. Wangyee Vang, Cherzong Vang, 
Mr. Chang Ger Xiong, Nao Lue Kue, Mr. Toua Kue, Xia Xu Kue and many 
others from the Lao Veterans of America, Inc.; Touy Manikham, former 
RLAF pilot; Professor Onsy Inthavong, Mr. Vanhlang Khamsouk, 
Manisakhone Sinhbandith and Nick Hanthaley, of the Federation for Free 
Elections in Laos; Mrs. Yer Ly, daughter of missing Hmong-American, Mr. 
Houa Ly; Mr. Bee Moua, Representative, Chao Fa Party; Mr. Bounheuang 
Manivong, Editor, Phendin Lao Magazine; Miss Ratdavone Yotharath, 
President, Miss Lao-American, Inc. of Rhode Island; Mr. Vue Lee, Hmong 
Community Advisor and businessman; Mr. Southalavong Boutah, Lao 
Veterans Association; and, George Vue and Dr. Houa Yang, of the Hmong 
National Council, Inc. as well as so many others.
  Mr. Speaker, I remain deeply concerned about the plight of the 
suffering people of Laos and the deplorable human rights and economic 
situation under the current Pathet Lao regime. I join my colleagues in 
Congress in commending the Lao and Hmong-American community and the 
U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos for the important effort they have put 
forward to help raise further awareness about the difficult situation 
in Laos, including human rights violations, religious and ethnic 
persecution--and the terrible plight of missing Lao student leaders and 
Hmong-Americans.

                          ____________________