Where is Sombath? Where is the UPR?

Where is Sombath? Where is the UPR?

The last Universal Periodic Review for the Lao PDR was held in January, 2015.

Seventy-two states made 203 recommendations, and the Lao government accepted 119 of them.

Ninety-three of those accepted recommendations called for a specific action, yet nearly two and one-half years later, and half-way until the next review, authorities have yet to release their plan for follow-up.

And while civil society organisations often play important roles in the follow-up and monitoring of the UPR implementation, those in Laos are apparently obliged to wait for the government plan.

 

Development partners: Where are the people?

Development partners: Where are the people?

declaration-word-cloud

Above is a word cloud generated from the Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation  from the 2015 High Level Roundtable Meeting.

Where are the people? The term only appears three times in the document itself, and those are within the Lao PDR’s name.

Other terms such as rights, empowerment, participation, rural, ethnic minority, and even core sectors such as education, health or agriculture are also missing.

Surely development partners use these words in soliciting resources and reporting on programmes, so why are they so noticeably absent in this important document meant to guide development action for the next decade?

Update: Lack of funding now main reason ASEAN People’s Forum not held in Laos

Update: Lack of funding now main reason ASEAN People’s Forum not held in Laos

ACSC-APF 2016 LogoAt the 2nd Regional Consultation Meeting for the ACSC/APF held in Vientiane on 10-11 May, Dr. Maydom Chanthanasinh, Chair of Lao CSOs, said that lack of finances was the main reason the Asean People’s Forum will not be held in Laos this year.

However, it was earlier reported the decision not to hold the event in Laos was taken by CSOs themselves in a meeting convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs in late September, 2015.

At the same Regional Consultation Meeting, Dr. Yong Chanthalangsy, Director General of the Institute of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assured participants that there are no restrictions on human rights CSOs in the Lao PDR.