HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EACH PERSON REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, RELIGION OR POLITICS
THE DANES STORY
READ WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT KAY DANES
United Laos Action Center (ULAC)
On behalf of the United Laos Action Center (ULAC) whose main goal is to promote freedom, democracy, development and human rights for the people of Laos. For Laotians all over the free world who are concerned for our less fortunate fellow Laotians at home, Kay Danes is a household word. We speak of her with affection, a sense of gratitude and hope. The sad and frightening story of how Kerry and Kay Danes fell victims to and suffered under the lack of justice and rule of law in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is familiar to many of us who care about human rights. It is a story of arbitrary arrest, detention without charge, trial without due process, horrendous prison conditions, brutal inhumane treatment of prisoners and torture, which has, over the last three decades under a one-party dictatorship, grossly violated the human rights of thousands of people, Laotians and foreigners alike. It was a story that had been perennially recorded by foreign government agencies and international human rights organizations without much avail.
Overseas Lao organizations had cried out against the human rights situation in Laos ever since we first escaped. But it fell on deaf ears. The interest of the international press in the Danes case did raise public awareness by quite a notch. But it was not until Kay launched herself wholeheartedly to right those wrongs that the human rights situation in the LaoPDR became visible on the radar screen of world policy makers from Canberra to Washington DC. No sooner than she regained freedom, Kay set up a website on the Internet with the objective of helping her fellow political prisoners as well as other human rights victims in the LaoPDR. The site, Foreign Prisoner Support Service which contains detailed and timely information on wide-ranging human rights issues and situations in many countries is a major link among human rights movements around the world, particularly in the Lao community.
Despite the risk of personal safety and the personal expense of energy, time and money and despite the painful memory of her ordeal, Kay travelled to Washington DC to help Lao freedom and human rights organizations around the world to establish our Organization, ULAC, as a coordinating center. While there, through the US and international press and media, Kay let the world as well as the US Congress in on the terrible secretive abuses going on in Laos. One year later, Kay travelled across the world to follow up with the US Congress to plead the case for victims of human rights abuses in the LaoPDR. She tirelessly presented the case with the State Department, including the US Ambassador to the LaoPDR, Mr. Douglas Hartwick. She went knocking on doors of members of both the House and Senate.
Apart from Kay Danes’ tenacious commitment and personal sacrifice, what is so extraordinary about her advocacy is that she is dedicating her energy, efforts and activities totally to other victims, those she has bonded with whom she calls ‘kin and friends’ as well as those she never met. In her public statements as well as private conversation, never once did Kay mention anything about her own experience. The words she spoke were often accompanied by tears. They were tears of compassion and tears of urgent concern for others who are languishing in the Lao gulags without any future. Those of us who have come in touch with her, love and admire and think of her most for this. Kay Danes is not a fire-breathing podium-thumping advocate for human rights. She tells it like it is, quietly, and straight from the heart. To her, victims of human rights are not statistics for debate and analysed in public forums, hearings, and the media. To her they are, each and everyone, persons, human beings with dignity, capable of feeling pains and humiliations. They all are her brothers and sisters. For lack of a better phrasing, Kay has put the faces on human rights abuse in the LaoPDR.
When visiting her FPSS website, or listening to her public statements, I for one, feel that I am in those victims’ place and it is physically and mentally unimaginable. I have little doubt the policy makers of the world feel the same. For this reason, I and my fellow Laotians both in and out of Laos, firmly believe that Kay Danes is the most effective mover we have as an ally in our long-standing struggle to give back the dignity and fundamental rights of our fellow Laotians.
Dr. Sin Vilay
United Lao Action Centre [ULAC]
Evening Star Building
1101 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 2004
SPEAKERS NETWORK INTERNATIONAL
Thank you for giving us a very happy client. Elgas thought you were sensational and you were right not a dry eye in the house. I look forward to working with you
Speakers Network International
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS
As we know, Kay Danes has personally experienced unlawful imprisonment in Laos. From her personal experience, and her commitment to help others in similar situations, Kay contributes greatly to the awareness and understanding of people suffering throughout the world, particularly those behind the razor wire and prisons without bars. Kay’s message will pierce through even the hardest heart and the soul of her audience.
Dr Pao Saykao (M.B.; B.S.)
Kay Danes, Australian hostage - Laos 2001. Her story is inspirational to those facing adversity and her continual fight for human rights. She continues to speak for those who are unable to be heard. She continually advocates for those she left behind the black door of Phonthong Prison Laos2001. Many people from all over the world contact her personally when loved ones are detained without their basic human rights. Whether it is advice or just emotional support needed, they look to Kay Danes because she knows the suffering of those behind the razor wire.
Karen Stewart - Teacher [Japan]
We of the Lao Nationalist Reform Party, offer our profound thanks and grateful appreciation to Kay Danes for traveling to the United States, Washington DC, and giving such a moving testimony at the US Congressional Forum for Democracy and Economic Development for Laos, Oct 1, 2002.
Lieutenant Colonel Khambang Sibounheuang
Party Leader Lao Nationalist Reform Party
Many thanks for making yourself available to talk to our staff about some of your unforgettable experiences and of the work that you are now dedicated to for the benefit of all people, particularly those in unfortunate circumstances of oppression and fear. We wish you well and in our own efforts to help the poor in our neighborhood, we feel a certain amount of empathy and concern. Hopefully those in need, be it political, material even spiritual, will feel the helping hand of good people. May your work be a constant challenge as well as a source of great satisfaction.
Brother Brian Cunningham, for and on behalf of our staff at the Boystown Family Care (Qld)
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA
"Kay writes from the heart, and her experience of life as a prisoner in Laos makes compelling reading."
Margaret Reynolds - National President United Nations of Australia
Our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. And in this spirit we say, simply but sincerely thank you and best wishes. Thank you very much for your kind regards and good wishes for our democratic movement. For us here in the US, we are following up on the new sanctions against the military regime, and other tough measures, such as bringing Burma issue before the UN Security Council. We deeply appreciate your support and solidarity. Thanks a lot.
Steven H. Moe
National Coalition Group for the Union of Burma, Washington, DC
I could never have gotten through this living nightmare without Kay's support and encouragement over the last 2 years! Thanks, again for everything, especially the strength and determination I have because I have seen Kay survive and go on to do so much good for those that desperately need her wisdom!
Mother of Randy Sachs,
Canadian detained in Vietnam
I have worked with Kay for many years now activly campaigning for prisoner rights. Kay is what I describe as being a
'powerhouse of good' in this world! Without her daily input the FPSS would not be what it is today!
Kay seems to have unlimited patience and energy for assisting others. Rather than break her, the experiences she endured have made her more determined to hightlight the plight of prisoners who would otherwise sit forgotton by their own countries in foreign prisons!
F.P.S.S Creator, Facilitator & Advocate
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE DANES STORY HOMEPAGE