Lao People's Democratic Republic reviewed by the UPR: well prepared delegation
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 17:28

On the afternoon of 4 May 2010, the Working Group on the UPR reviewed the human rights situation in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos). The high-level delegation was headed by Mr Phongsavath Boupha, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr Boupha was joined by, among others, representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Defense, the Lao Women’s Union, and the Lao Journalists’ Association. States were balanced in their praise for the accomplishments and developments made by Laos given its economic constraints, while repeatedly expressing concern over a number of key issues. Discussion in the interactive dialogue focused on:

  • Efforts at poverty reduction and development, including a plan to no longer be classified as a ‘least developed country’ by 2020
  • Women’s rights, including violence against women, a high (though decreasing) rate of maternal mortality, and particular concern over women in rural areas
  • The status of the Hmong minority which had been forcibly repatriated from Thailand in late 2009, specifically calls for independent visits and monitoring by international agencies
  • Concerns over restrictions on freedom of expression, including internet monitoring, and media self-censorship
  • Calls for human rights education and training for judges, lawyers, police, and other security personnel.
  • Freedom of religion, specifically reports of discrimination against a Christian minority
  • Concerns over continued human trafficking for the purposes of child labour and sexual exploitation
  • Recommendations to ratify the Convention Against Torture, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, optional protocols to the relevant human rights conventions to which it is already a party, and to issue a standing invitation to all UN special procedures.

The head of the delegation ensured that all members of the delegation spoke on their own areas of expertise, and all were clearly prepared for the questions that were raised. Only a small number of States out of 65 on the speakers list were not able to take the floor due to time constraints, and the State under review used all but five minutes of its allotted time. Laos accepted 53 recommendations, considered three already to have been implemented, and rejected three (on establishing a national human rights institution and freeing prisoners held following peaceful demonstrations). It will provide responses to 48 recommendations by the Council’s September session.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:51
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