Lao PDR: 12th Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Vientiane
The Lao PDR and the European Union held the 12th meeting of their Human Rights Dialogue on 12 June in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.
A wide range of topics were addressed during the dialogue, notably civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, freedoms of expression, information and assembly, gender equality and tackling violence against women, rights of the child and of persons in vulnerable situations, the death penalty, access to justice, ratification of and reporting duties under international human rights treaties, and cooperation in multilateral fora.
The Lao PDR and EU noted with satisfaction substantial progress made on the Plan of Action on recommendations of the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The Lao PDR Delegation and the EU Delegation engaged in discussion in a constructive manner and raised concerns, notably on justice and law enforcement issues on each side. The EU raised a number of individual cases of concern, and highlighted the importance of transparency and accountability in investigations, while the Lao PDR presented general issues of concern in relation to the EU. Both sides reiterated the commitment to protect and promote human rights and to take increased measures to ensure the safety of any person, under national laws and international human rights conventions.
The planned Lao PDR exit from Least Developed Country status in 2026 is a welcome indication of national economic and social development. In preparation for LDC graduation, and with reference to potential access to the GSP+ preferential trade scheme, the EU Delegation recalled the importance of ratification by the Lao PDR of a number of international human rights conventions, including relevant ILO conventions.
The Lao PDR Delegation provided updated information on submission of national reports related to ICESCR, CEDAW, and CRC, and on preparation of national reports related to CAT and ICERD.
The Lao PDR and the EU agreed on follow up of a number of concrete deliverables. These deliverables relate inter alia to cooperation with UN special procedures and the Lao PDR invitation to a UN mandate holder before the next cycle of the 4th UPR, timely reporting related to human rights conventions, reviewing registration requirements of Civil Society Organisations and Non-Profit Associations to broaden civic space in the Lao PDR, and holding an event with a view to increasing awareness and exchanging information on the death penalty.
The Lao Delegation was led by Mr Thepthavone Sengmany, Acting Director-General of Department of Treaty and Law, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, while the EU Delegation was led by Mrs Barbara Plinkert, Head of Division for South-East Asia and ASEAN, European External Action Service. The dialogue was attended by representatives of Ministries and Mass Organisations of the Lao PDR, the EEAS and the European Commission. A number of representatives from Embassies of EU Member States to the Lao PDR also attended the dialogue as observers.