No progress on human rights, European Union told ahead of upcoming dialogue

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Brussels, Paris - 12 July 2022 - The European Union (EU) must raise its concerns with the Lao government over the lack of progress in addressing long-standing human rights violations in Laos and urge authorities to comply with the country’s human rights obligations, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) said today. The two organizations made the call ahead of the 11th EU-Laos Human Rights Dialogue, held on 13 July 2022 in Brussels.

“The human rights dialogue is one of the few opportunities for the EU to raise its concerns with Vientiane. It must not be another opportunity that allows the government to engage in dishonest statements and avoid any pledges to make concrete and measurable human rights commitments.”

Adilur Rahman Khan, FIDH Secretary-General

In conjunction with their call, the two organisations released a briefing paper that provides a summary of human rights developments in Laos since the previous human rights dialogue, which was held remotely on 16 June 2021.

The briefing paper documents key developments on the following issues:
1) political prisoners;
2) failure to cooperate with United Nations (UN) human rights mechanisms;
3) enforced disappearances;
4) violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief;
5) human rights impacts of infrastructure and investment projects;
6) minimum wage increase; and
7) the COVID-19 response.

“As the 10-year anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone approaches, it is crucial that the EU keeps pressing the Lao government for answers about his fate and whereabouts. The chilling effect of Sombath’s disappearance haunts Lao civil society to this day and, until truth and justice are established, fear and oppression will prevail.”

Elise Lyfoung, LMHR President
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