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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Monday 4 May (afternoon)

Country under review: LAO’S PEOPLE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

Concerned country - national report

  • Represented by a 19-member delegation and headed by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Phongsavath Boupha
  • National report presented by H.E. the head of delegation

Highlights

  • Moratorium on death penalty since 1989.
  • Training of prison officers on prison management and treatment of offenders.
  • Decrease in poverty rate from 49% in 1990 to 25 % in 2009.
  • Two ministers and five vice-ministers are women. Women account for 25% of the National Assembly deputies.
  • Rights of minorities protected by national legislation.
  • Literacy rate of people aged above 15 is 77%.
  • Laws on the Development and Protection of Women.
  • Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children.
  • Legal Sector Master Plan to build a State ruled by law by 2020.
  • Recent visit of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
  • Signature of the Convention against Torture under consideration.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

  • Member States: 25
  • Observer States: 32

Positive achievements

  • Efforts to eradicate poverty.
  • Increase in representation of women in senior positions in the Government.
  • Wide access to education and public healthcare.
  • Actions taken to reduce maternal and infant mortality rate.
  • Ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and signature of the Convention on Enforced disappearances and the Convention on cluster munitions.

Issues and questions raised 

  • Violence against women and girls.
  • High illiteracy rate of women.
  • Conditions of detention.
  • Freedom of religion.
  • Limitations on freedom of expression.
  • Rights of minorities.
  • Forced repatriation of Hmong refugees from Thailand.

Recommendations

  • Abolish the death penalty definitively.
  • Strengthen efforts to combat all forms of exploitation of children.
  • Intensify the fight against trafficking in persons.
  • Increase training of the security forces and of the judiciary.
  • Conduct awareness raising programmes to combat violence against women.
  • Ensure the human rights of returned Hmong refugees and national minorities.
  • Further strengthen the right to health and education, especially in rural areas.
  • Lift restrictions on the freedom of expression and of the press.
  • Take steps to fully implement the freedom of religion and belief.
  • Become a party to the Ottawa Convention on Landmines.
  • Extend a standing invitation to all UN Special Procedures.
  • Ratify the Rome Statute, and the two Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture.

Response of the concerned country

  • Gender equality– National plan of action underway to broaden access to education to girls and women. Gender equality provided for in the Constitution.
  • Improvement of conditions of detention– Further improvement underway, taking into account the economic situation of the country.
  • Restriction on freedom of expression - Majority of radio and television companies privately owned. No restriction on internet access and media infrastructure is being developed so as to extend the diffusion of information.
  • Landmines/UXO – National strategy and plan of action to clear the territory and assist the victims (including socio-economic measures). Serious threat to the right to development and life.
  • Freedom of movement of Hmong people - Committed to ensure the fundamental rights of the Hmong people and facilitate their return to the country. Need more time to normalize their livelihood. Will be able in the future to apply for and be granted passports.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Thursday 6 May, 17:30 – 18:00 

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