The Hmong have been living in Laos for more than 100 years
More than 200,000 Hmong have fled Laos since 1975
Thailand has initially taken in some Hmong into camps for resettlement or repatriation
About 90 per cent of Hmong refugees have been resettled in the US
Source: Migrationinformation.org; factfinding.org
The communist authorities are now allegedly targeting them for working with the CIA after the Vietnam War spilled over into Laos.
Tens of thousands of refugees were re-settled in Western countries, including the US, Australia, Canada and France, while others were returned to Laos under UN-sponsored repatriation programmes.
Many more crossed porous local borders to take refuge in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.
Thousands remained in the jungles of northern Laos, but these groups are frequently targeted by the Laotian army.
Last week the US state department said it was investigating claims of persecution against the Hmong people, as Radio Free Asia reported that the Laotian army now had a "shoot to kill' policy towards the ethnic group.
The UN refugee agency has previously raised concern over the forced return of Hmong refugees by Thailand.
The agency does not have an office within Laos and therefore is not able to comment on the Hmong people there.