Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the humane treatment extended by the Lao Government to the ethnic minorities who emerged from remote areas over the weekend, and he stressed the readiness of the United Nations to provide humanitarian assistance to such groups at the Government's request.
"The Secretary-General welcomes the reports received of the humane treatment extended to the group of 171 men, women and children from ethnic minorities, including Hmong, who have come out from remote areas of the Xaysomboune Special Zone in Lao People's Democratic Republic early on Saturday morning," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said today.
Mr. Annan urged the Lao Government to continue to provide the necessary assistance to the Hmong, "should a larger number come out of the jungle in the days ahead."
"The Secretary-General also reiterates the readiness of the United Nations to provide every kind of humanitarian assistance to such groups that the Lao Government may request," he added.
The Xaysomboune Special Zone is a northern area of jungle near Viet Nam in the landlocked Asian nation, one of the least developed countries (LDC) and among the poorest in the world.