Modern Laos and the Term ‘Human Rights’

Ounekeo Souksavanj, Correspondent for the Asia Times and RFA (Radio Free Asia) and Radio Broadcaster from Laos, will be giving a lecture on Friday, September 11.

This talk focuses on the small, single-party country of Laos that has been under the rule of the Lao People’ Revolutionary Party since 1975. Laos has promoted an “open policy” since 1986 and the government has declared that it will upgrade itself from poverty status in 2020. As this talk explains, to do this, the Lao government is promoting the following types of development:
Turning Laos into the battery of Asia
Turning lands into capital
Turning Laos from a landlocked to a landlinked country
In its rush to make the country modern, the Lao government often proceeds without adequately considering the social and environmental impact of development efforts and the consequences faced by local people, including land grabbing. These circumstances are also linked to the detention of some Lao people in relation to land conflicts with investors, and the disappearance of Sombath Somphone, a leader of Lao civil society, on December 15, 2012. In this presentation, Mr. Souksavanh explains the present situation in Laos, including the way the term “human rights” is used in the country, and how it relates to development efforts.

This lecture is sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and is free and open to the public.

Ounkeo UW-Madison