Editor’s note: The following contains disturbing and graphic descriptions of attacks on Christians.
An international Christian group has reported a horrifying episode of Christian children being abducted and killed in an apparent effort to stifle “religious and political” dissidents in Laos during the runup to a visit by U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.
Webb, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, recently visited several nations, including some that often have earned high rankings among nations that persecute Christians. His trip included visits to Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
Now comes a report from International Christian Concern about the newest atrocities.
“International Christian Concern has just learned that Lao soldiers captured, mutilated and decapitated a two-month-old girl during recent military attacks against Hmong and Laotian civilians,” the group said. “Survivors of the attack said the infant was used for target practice.”
ICC cited reports from the Center for Public Policy Analysis that claimed eight children were captured and 26 Hmong and Laotian civilians were murdered during a series of four major attacks over the past month – apparently designed to stifle “religious and political dissidents” ahead of the visit from Webb.
“Christian Hmong were most certainly among those attacked as they are often targeted specifically by the regime,” the report said.
The report included a statement from Vaughn Vang, the director of thet Lao Hmong Human Rights Council.
“We are told, by some of the Lao Hmong survivors of the recent military attacks in Laos, that the LPDR (Lao Peoples Democratic Republic) soldiers of the LPA (Lao Peoples Army) used the … Lao Hmong girl, while she was still alive, for target practice … once she was captured and tied up; they mutilated her little body and continued to fire their weapons, over and over … until her head just eventually came off after so many bullets severed her head.”
The rest of the children, ranging up to 8 years old, remain missing and Vang’s concern is that they likely would be tortured and killed by soldiers.
The ICC report said the decapitated child’s body was found next to her mother, also a torture victim of the soldiers.
“Unfortunately,” the ICC said, “this level of brutality against women and children is not uncommon for Lao soldiers. It is standard procedure for soldiers to surround and isolate pockets of Hmong people and starve them out to be killed when they venture out to forage.
“Philip Smith, the Executive Director of CPPA, told ICC of video footage smuggled out of Laos in 2004 that documents the aftermath of the killing and brutalization of five Hmong children, four of them girls, on May 19th of that year. That footage was used in an extremely graphic documentary, “Hunted Like Animals,” by Rebecca Sommer,” the report said.
The videos are available at RebeccaSommer.org, but ICC warns the clips are “highly graphic.” The website warns that no children should view the clips.
“Rights groups have rightly called the acts the Lao military commits against children and civilians war crimes,” said Natalia Rain, ICC”s regional manager for East Asia. “Let the international community not be guilty of the same by its silence in the face of a regime who has already been allowed so much room that it has reached the heights of sadism in the torture and decapitation of a two-month-old little girl.”
Webb said in a website statement the U.S. needs to “re-engage with Southeast Asia at all levels.”
“Our relations with Laos,” he said, “have never been fully repaired since the end of the Vietnam War more than 30 years ago.”
During his time in Laos, his schedule included meetings with the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense.
According to the RebeccaSommers.org website, the Hmong people of southeast Asia, many of whom cooperated with American forces during the Vietnam War, still are hunted and killed for actions of four decades ago.
Open Doors USA ranks Laos No. 8 on its 2009 World Watch List of nations that persecute Christians.
The World Watch List is compiled from a specially designed questionnaire
of 50 questions covering various aspects of religious freedom. A point
value is assigned depending on how each question is answered. The total
number of points per country determines its position on the World Watch
“It is certainly not a shock that North Korea is No. 1 on the list of
countries where Christians face the worst persecution,” said Carl
Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. “There is no other country in
the world where Christians are persecuted in such a horrible and
The organization estimates 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation,
arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more
facing discrimination and alienation.