UNPO Submits Report for Midterm Universal Periodic Review on Laos
On Tuesday 20 March 2018, UNPO submitted a report on Laos to UPR Info, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This report is published three years after the Lao People's Democratic Republic’s second cycle UPR. It examines Laos' compliance with the recommendations that were made to it during its last review, focusing especially on the violation of the Hmong communities' rights.
In June 2014, UNPO's report on the occasion of Laos' UPR underlined the discrimination, uncompensated land confiscation, arbitrary arrests and violations of cultural and religious rights of the Hmong people.
This mid-term report is submitted by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in-between the second and third Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs) of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. It draws attention to human rights violations occurring in the country that affect its indigenous peoples, and especially the Hmong. The report will open with a brief introduction to the Hmong people. In a second part, it will examine the compliance of Laos with recommendations that were made to it during the country’s last UPR. This report focuses particularly on the issues of basic human right access, freedom of movement and returnees, freedom from enforced disappearances, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners and political participation.
The situation of the Hmong community in Laos is still extremely dire. Despite Laos’ claim to be making efforts to better include the ethnic minorities in society, the situation in the jungle has not evolved. The ongoing military assaults perpetrated by the Lao armed forces lead to very serious violations of basic human rights for thousands of people, who are forced into starvation, sickness and isolation and ultimately are forced to flee. The persecution of the Hmong people ever since the end of the war created a climate of life-threatening danger for this community, which includes many women and children suffering from undernourishment and dying at a young age or at birth. In addition to being persecuted in their own land, the Hmong who try to flee are met by repressive authorities in Thailand or Vietnam who collaborate closely with Laos in this gruesome venture
Among the recommendations that UNPO urges the Laotian government to consider are:
1. To cease its repeated and ongoing assaults on the Hmong community living in the jungle and ensure its insertion into society.
2. To respect the CRC, which it signed in 1989, and especially its article 3.3, which states that State Parties shall insure the care or protection of children.
3. To ensure that its election processes are competitive, free, fair, inclusive and participatory by allowing multiple parties to take part.
4. To grant the UNHCR and such other international organisations access to the country.
5. To abide by international law with regards to the treatment of Hmong returnees living in refugee camps.
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