Joint Press Release
10th meeting of the EU-Lao PDR Human Rights Dialogue
16th June 2021 - by videoconference
The European Union and the Lao PDR held the 10thmeeting of their Human Rights Dialogue on 16th June 2021 by videoconference.
Both delegations underlined the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting people’s lives across the world and requiring a united, global, multilateral response, representing also a challenge for healthcare systems and economies around the world. The EU assistance to Laos in response to the pandemic encompasses a range of actions, including the support through the COVAX facility in obtaining the vaccines and a health system-strengthening project in partnership with the Lao Government and the WHO.
The Dialogue covered matters of mutual interest and concern, ranging from civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to the death penalty, from gender equality, rights of the child and trafficking in human beings, to the rights of persons with disabilities, from ethnic groups to cooperation in multilateral fora. Several individual cases of persons of concern were raised by the EU. In this respect, the EU reaffirmed the importance of ratification by the Lao PDR of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as of issuing invitations to UN Special Rapporteurs.
The Dialogue also entailed an in-depth discussion on the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, a key mechanism acknowledged by both delegations with the potential to make long-term advancements as it addresses all human rights and applies to all UN Member States.
The Lao PDR updated the EU on the progress it has made in the areas of freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly. In these areas, the EU encouraged the Lao PDR to uphold its commitments under international human rights treaties to which the Lao PDR is party, as well as under international Human Rights law generally, and to ensure the implementation of the 2020 UPR recommendations and the UN Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations.
The EU took note of the commitment of the new cabinet of the Lao government to improve people’s living conditions, service delivery, and to tackle corruption. The EU is already engaged in several projects to support these efforts, notably through the “Citizen Engagement for Good Governance, Accountability and Rule of Law (CEGGA)” programme but as well in the Public Finance Management, education and nutrition sectors, and stands ready to provide further assistance.
The Delegation of the European Union was headed by Mr David Daly, Head of South East Asia Division at the European External Action Service, while the Delegation from the Lao PDR was led by Mr. Douangmany Gnotsyoudom, Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting was attended by representatives from several Ministries and Institutions of the Lao PDR, the EEAS, the European Commission and EU Member States.
The next meeting of the EU – Lao PDR Human Rights Dialogue will be held in 2022.