December 13, 2007

Laos: Human Rights Violation Still Present

As the world celebrated International Human Rights Day, the Lao Movement for Human Rights takes the opportunity to voice out the continued violations Laos and denounces the attempt by the government to cover them up.

As the world celebrated International Human Rights Day, the Lao Movement for Human Rights takes the opportunity to voice out the continued violations in Laos and denounces the attempt by the government to cover them up.

Below is an article published by Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme (MLDH):

This Human Rights Day 2007  launches a long year commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN and its various organisms aiming to promote the Declaration’s ‘’ideals and principles of justice and equality for everyone’’.

The UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, recalled that ‘’This anniversary year is an occasion to build up that will. It is a chance to ensure that these rights are a living reality -- that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists -- and that it exists for them.’’

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR), the Lao people, from all ethnic origins,  will bear, once more, without voice and without rights,   the sham  ‘’celebration’’  organized by the leaders of a repressive system to lure the international community and donator countries, whereas the assessment by the régime as regarding human rights remains disastrous.

Since the establishment of the single Party dictatorship in 1975, repression campaigns against religious and ethnic minorities have not ceased, in spite of denials from the LPDR leaders. Some 30 000 Lao-Hmongs have been chased, repressed and gradually eliminated for the last 32 years by the government troops in the jungles of Laos and are now disappearing. Religious freedom is still limited and too often inexistent.

Freedom of expression is refused to the Lao people. Newspapers, radios, television, internet are under the strict control of the Party-State and must relay the directives of the Party to the population. The leaders of the ‘’Student Movement of 26 October 1999’’ are still in prison despite the declaration of the president of the Lao National Assembly in March 2007.

Rights to health, rights to education, and rights to justice are still out of reach to all. The expression born after 1975   ‘’khon hang bo day khao khook, khon thook boday khao hong mo  =  the rich cannot be imprisoned, the poor cannot be hospitalized’’  stays  as an imposing fact.

Political freedom does not exist. The Constitution of the RDPL clearly stipulates that the Lao People Revolutionnary Party (LPRP) is the only legal political organisation of the country and constitutes "the nucleus" of the system. The Parliament is composed of 100% members of the unique Party. The judiciary system is under the control of the Party, which also cumulates the executive, legislative and judiciary powers.

The Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) welcomes and supports the creation of the Human Rights Commission by ASEAN in July 2007 in spite of the opposition shown by single party states like Burma, Laos and Vietnam. The LMHR urges the ASEAN member states to implement the goals of the commission which is to respect human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Lao Movement for Human Rights deplores the statements made by the LPDR prime minister, Mr Bouasone BOUPHAVANH, on November 18th, 2007, when he declared   ‘’ I don't think it will be the right path for Laos to have a multi-party system"  . Asked if the Lao government, like Burma, would order to shoot unarmed protesters if there were pacific pro-democracy demonstration in Laos, he said ‘’ "The best way for us is to do everything not to let something like that happen’’.

On this International Human Rights Day, the Lao Movement for Human Rights, once again, strongly reiterates its appeal to the international community - in particular the European Union and its Member States, the United Nations, ASEAN, the G8 Countries -- so that concrete and concerted actions are taken, in order to reach true democratic reforms in Laos, and to bring Freedom, Democracy, State of right, and national Reconciliation in this country.

Source: Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme (MLDH)