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Laos lauded for human rights record

Publication Date : 11-02-2013


A high-ranking European Union (EU) official has congratulated Laos on the achievements it has made in promoting and protecting human rights, a press release has said.

These achievements are reflected in particular by Laos' accession to many human rights conventions of the United Nations, the press release quoted Human Rights and Democracy Director of the European External Action Service, Véronique Arnault, as saying.

These accomplishments are further reflected by the fact that Laos has been striving to fulfill the recommendations made in the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review report, Arnault added, according to the press release from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Arnault made the comments in Vientiane on February 6 during talks with the Chairman of the National Steering Committee on Human Rights, Phongsavat Boupha.

The meeting took place following Ms Arnault's attendance at the 4th Laos-European Union Working Group on Human Rights and Governance held in the Lao capital early last week, where she led the EU delegation.

Praising Laos on its achievements, Arnault said human rights is a common issue that many countries across the globe are challenged by.

She noted that no country, including those in the EU, has been able to do a perfect job of exercising human rights, saying that each country has its particular difficulties and challenges to overcome.

Arnault recalled that people in Europe had in the past suffered severely from human rights violations.

The EU delegation shared the experiences and lessons learnt with their Lao counterparts through the Laos-European Union Working Group on Human Rights and Governance. The previous meeting was held in Vientiane in 2011.

During their talks, Phongsavat, who is Head of the President's Office, briefed Arnault on the mandate of the National Steering Committee on Human Rights. This committee was recently established to stimulate the Lao government's efforts to promote and protect human rights.

He said the committee had been set up because the government attached great importance to human rights promotion, as specified in the constitution and laws.

The active compliance of Laos on human rights according to the country's constitution and laws has enabled the multiethnic people of Laos to enjoy their rights and freedoms, which also align with UN human rights conventions.

The EU delegation said they greatly appreciated the establishment of the National Steering Committee on Human Rights and considered it an important step forward to further improve the exercising of human rights in Laos, the press release said.

Phongsavat thanked the EU for the support and assistance it has extended for socio-economic development in Laos. This assistance includes projects that address unexploded ordnance issues and resettlement, which helps to promote human rights among the poorest and most needy.

The EU delegation expressed interest in the progress made in the investigation into the disappearance of Sombath Somphone, which the EU is concerned about.

Phongsavat said that since the incident took place, the police have conducted a through investigation into the case.

He said the Lao authorities would immediately inform the family of Sombath if they have any news.

On the same day, the delegation called on the Deputy Foreign Minister and Vice Chairman of the National Steering Committee on Human Rights, Alounkeo Kittikhoun.


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