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Laos Chapter - 2017 Annual Report

Laos Chapter - 2017 Annual Report

Lao Translation

Key Findings

Based on Laos’s overall record on human rights, it consistently ranks as one of the least free and most repressive countries in the world due to government restrictions on expression, assembly and association, independent media and Internet access, and other rights. The Lao government also continues to heavily restrict freedom of religion or belief. In some parts of the country, religious freedom conditions are generally free, especially for the majority Buddhist community. But in other areas, local authorities harass and discriminate against religious and ethnic minorities, and pervasive government control and onerous regulations impede freedom of religion or belief. Local officials who inconsistently interpret and implement religious regulations also tend to be highly suspicious of Christians. In 2017, USCIRF again places Laos on its Tier 2, as it has since 2009. As Laos implements revised religious regulations, USCIRF will monitor whether these changes or other modifications to the Lao government’s policies and practices become consistent with international human rights standards—including the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, to which Laos is a state party—which may influence how USCIRF reports on the country in future Annual Reports.

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