18 September 2020
Historically, Lao PDR has not been a destination for refugees or asylum seekers. However, the country’s land-locked location and long borders with five other countries has made Lao susceptible to being used as a source, or point of transit, for human traffickers. As the U.S State Department noted in its 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report, “The government continued to struggle to identify Lao and foreign victims of trafficking within Laos, despite acknowledgment by Lao authorities and NGOs of the increased risk of trafficking in specialized economic zones, agricultural plantations, and large-scale infrastructure projects.” Little information is publicly available, though, regarding the treatment of migrants or asylum seekers in immigration enforcement procedures in the country. Since the start of the pandemic, Lao has been lauded for its effective control measures against the virus by the WHO. As of 17 August, there had been 22 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
- International Organisation for Migration (IOM), “Lao People’s Democratic Republic,” accessed 18 September 2020, https://www.iom.int/countries/lao-peoples-democratic-republic
- U.S. State Department, “Trafficking in Persons Report - 2020,” 2020, https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-trafficking-in-persons-report/
- The Vientiane Times/Asian News Network, “Laos: PM Urges Local Media to Adapt to Modern Challenges as 2 More Covid-19 Cases is Reported,” The Star, 17 August 2020, https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2020/08/17/laos-pm-urges-local-media-to-adapt-to-modern-challenges-as-2-more-covid-19-cases-is-reported
- UNHCR, “Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees For the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Compilation Report –Universal Periodic Review: Lao People’s Democratic Republic.” UNHCR, June 2014, https://www.refworld.org/country,,UNHCR,,LAO,,,,0.html
- WHO, “Prime Minister Thanks Partners for Support During First Phase of Lao PDR’s Battle with COVID-19,” 10 June 2020, https://www.who.int/laos/news/detail/10-06-2020-prime-minister-thanks-partners-for-support-during-first-phase-of-lao-pdr-s-battle-with-covid-19