Human Rights Abuses in Laos Must be Tackled Now

On the eve of the annual ASEAN leaders summit in Vientiane, human rights and advocacy groups called upon the Lao PDR Government to commit to address its widespread violations of human rights, including instances of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, and overall denial of basic civil and political rights.

Visiting world leaders have a unique opportunity to publicly raise human rights concerns during the ASEAN summit in Vientiane from September 6-8. They should press the Lao government to cease the abuses that have consistently placed Laos at the bottom of rights and development indexes measuring rights, press freedom, democracy, religious freedom, and economic transparency.

At the press conference organised today by the Sombath Initiative at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, the groups released a set of briefing papers on forcibly disappeared civil society leader Sombath Somphone, Laos’ restrictions on democracy and human rights, lack freedom of expression, failure to meet human rights obligations, and impacts of foreign aid and investment.

Click here to read the full text of the joint press release. Civil Rights Defenders’s briefing paper on Lao PDR’s international human rights obligations and commitments is available here.