Laos

Arbitrary detentions and attacks on Hmong in Laos as rubber-stamp elections held

In recent months, the UN has raised concerns on the ongoing arbitrary detention of three human rights defenders and the continued failure of the Laos authorities to investigate the whereabouts of human rights defender Sombath Somphone. A Christian pastor was released after being arbitrarily detained for a year and there have been escalating attacks against the Hmong community living near the Phou Bia mountain. Read more

Arbitrary detentions and attacks on Hmong in Laos as rubber-stamp elections held

Rights groups and the UN continue to press Laos where civic space remains ‘closed’

Civic space continues to be rated as ‘closed’ in the CIVICUS Monitor’s latest report issued in December 2020. Over the last few months, the authorities have continued to push for online media sources to be registered. There has been a rare online criticism of the government inspired by the mass protests in Thailand while a political prisoner, Sangkhane Phachanthavong has been released on bail. The UN has raised concerns about state-sponsored persecution of the ChaoFa Hmong community. Read more

Rights groups and the UN continue to press Laos where civic space remains ‘closed’

Lao activist Muay in jail for nearly a year while still no justice for 2018 dam collapse

Activist Houayheuang Xayabouly has spent nearly a year in prison. Two years after the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapsed, victims are still waiting for truth, justice and reparations. Civil society groups have continued to raise concerns about new dams being built and their impact on the environment and communities. A protester detained from Xiengda village in Vientiane’s Saysettha district in March 2020 remains in jail. Read more

Lao activist Muay in jail for nearly a year while still no justice for 2018 dam collapse

Clampdown on expression online persists as Laos slips further down the press freedom rankings

There have been reports of human rights violations occurring during the lockdown in Laos. Individuals circulating a video of a land grab were detained and there were arrests for ‘fake news’ or ‘spreading rumours aimed at causing public panic’ related to COVID-19. Laos press freedom rankings dropped further, while concerns were raised around the lack of information on another proposed dam, amid a near-total lack of space for free speech. Read more

Clampdown on expression online persists as Laos slips further down the press freedom rankings

Laos activist Od Sayavong still missing six months on, while critics continue to be silenced

Lao authorities are believed to have been involved in the enforced disappearance of activist Od Sayavong and Phetphouthon Philachane in 2019. Government critic Houayheuang Xayabouly has been convicted for criticising the authority’s slow response to floods. Villagers in Luang Namtha are resisting a land development project while there has been no progress around the case of disappeared human rights defender Sombath Somphone seven years on. Read more

Laos activist Od Sayavong still missing six months on, while critics continue to be silenced

Laos increases controls on social media news sites while anti-land grab protesters jailed

In recent months, the authorities have tightened control of social media news sites, jailed anti-land grab protesters from two to six years and continue to persecute religious minorities. Read more

Laos increases controls on social media news sites while anti-land grab protesters jailed

UN expert reports of ‘a near-total lack of space for freedom of expression’ in Laos

In March 2019, the UN expert on poverty and human rights visited Laos and found that there was a lack of space for freedom of expression and strict limitations on media and civil society. In the same month, civil society groups called on the EU to be more vocal in its engagement with Laos on human rights issues including on civic space. Further, reports highlight that many are turning to the internet to access information due to ongoing media restrictions and at least two jailed protesters have taken ill. Read more

UN expert reports of ‘a near-total lack of space for freedom of expression’ in Laos

Six years on, groups demand effective investigation into disappearance of activist Sombath Somphone

On the sixth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, over 100 civil society organisations worldwide called for the Lao government to conduct an independent, impartial, and effective investigation to reveal his fate and whereabouts. Read more

Six years on, groups demand effective investigation into disappearance of activist Sombath Somphone

Repressive climate for civil society silences criticism of dam projects

Lao civil society organisations are afraid of opposing the Pak Lay dam, even though they are aware of its potential negative impact Read more

Repressive climate for civil society silences criticism of dam projects

UN Human Rights Committee slams Laos record on civil and political rights

In July 2018, Laos civil and political rights record was reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The Committee raised concerns about the existence of severe restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly Read more

UN Human Rights Committee slams Laos record on civil and political rights