WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Hmong Graves Exhumed in Thailand

By: Teresa Moua-Her
By: Teresa Moua-Her

Last year thousands of Hmong came from Thailand.
The Thai government has recently given permission to dig up Hmong graves near the Wat Tham Krabok in Thailand.
The majority of them come from families that have immigrated to the US.
The situation has created an international debate including the Chippewa Valley Hmong.
On Christmas day, people nationwide gathered with happiness but not the Hmong people.
Many Hmong in the Chippewa Valley spent a part of their Christmas day watching a video that showed Hmong graves being dug up in Thailand...these graves are located near the Buddhist temple where thousands of Hmong lived last year. Many of are now living in the US.
Yong Kay Moua, a Hmong community leader, says, the Hmong are concerned.
"That kind of really hurt the Hmong community like a group of people just trying to make war to the Hmong graves."
According to a local medical examiner, in the US it takes at least six steps to open up a grave site. Most importantly, it means getting permission from the families and sometimes it involves getting court permission.
But none of the families heard any word from the Thai government about the exhumation of these graves. This isn't, however, the first time it's happened.
"After 1992-95 that Hmong people left camp Vinai, they also digging all the graves, says Moua, and now they also digging the grave in Tam Kra Bok."
According to the US embassy in Thailand, the Thai government claims the reason for exhumation is water contamination and development but Moua says, the Hmong community believes that's only an excuse.
Most importantly, Moua says the situation wouldn't be such a controversy if the bodies were treated with respect.
"The other thing that is hurting us it doesn't look good to the eye of the world to dig people out and cut in pieces and take pieces and put in the boiler and boil every piece of that. That is just like animals it's like butchering us like animals ....that is what hurts the most..."
This has led many Hmong to contact elected officials and Congressman Ron Kind is one of them.
"It was enough for us to sign a joint letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and to intervene and check into the situation. All we're asking is for the bodies to be treated with respect and dignity it deserves."
Kind adds he is working hard to resolve the situation, however, there is no new information on what is being done.
According to Moua 900 grave sites have been exhumed.
Right now, the Hmong have only US congressmen to rely on.
They are also trying to make their voices heard.


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