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29 Aug 2016

Focus on the Global South, Civil Rights Defenders, Mekong Watch, FIDH, Sombath Initiative, International Commission of Jurists

Civil society groups highlight human rights challenges in Laos as it hosts ASEAN Summit; includes brief on “high costs of foreign investment”

"ASEAN in Laos: Challenges of Leadership, Human Rights, and Democracy", 27 Aug 2016

…The enforced disappearance of prominent civil society leader Sombath Somphone in December 2012, ongoing arbitrary detentions, and extremely tight controls on the media and civil society have instilled an environment of fear, silence, and repression in Laos. Little news about the serious human rights abuses occurring in the country ever comes out in the media, allowing the continued violation of basic liberties.

Despite this repressive environment, foreign aid and investment continue to flow into Laos.

In the week before the ASEAN Summit, scheduled for 6-8 September in Vientiane, and US President Barack Obama’s visit to Laos – the first-ever to be made by a sitting US President – for the East Asia Summit, it is important to shine a spotlight on Laos and the disturbing repression that pervades the country…