Laos Development NGOs Silent on Human Rights

Writing for The New Mandala, Randall Arnst bemoaned the silence of Laos devleopment NGOs over the disappearance of prominent NGO worker Sombath Somphone:

…while UN rights bodies have repeatedly raised concerns, their sister agencies working in development have said virtually nothing. At the bi-lateral level, while diplomats have spoken up, development programs continue unaltered, except that several have increased their assistance.

He also analyzed the state of civil society in Laos and made the following conclusion:

The vitality and self-reliance of the more foundational or informal aspects of civil society are being weakened, in large part through state and capacity-building efforts supported by donors and development agencies.

However, as the space for these organisations to fulfil roles as part of a broader and more viable civil society is increasingly constrained and threatened, those same donors and development agencies remain largely silent.

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