UN human rights expert to hear local Hmong testimonyby Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A human rights expert from the United Nations will be in the Twin Cities to hear testimony on the desecration of Hmong graves in Thailand.
The human rights expert from the United Nations has agreed to listen to concerns from Hmong families about the disinterment of hundreds of graves near a Buddhist temple in Thailand where thousands of Hmong refugees once lived. The unearthing of the graves sparked outrage and frustration in the Hmong community in St. Paul when it was discovered about three years ago.
The hearing will take place next month at the University of Minnesota, where students in the Human Rights Program took up the issue. Some of the students, as well as experts on Hmong culture will also testify.
The director of the program, Barbara Frey, said this hearing is the natural next step in resolving the matter.
"We've had written inquiries of the Thai government and the Thai government has responded to those written inquiries. And we've been asking the special experts and this special expert is quite interested in the issue because it not only effects the Hmong community, but lots of indigenous communities throughout the world," Frey said.
Members of the Hmong community are expected to petition the Special Rapporteur to use his authority to make recommendations on ways to prevent grave desecration in the future.