Democracy and rights
Abbreviated as LAO by Abbreviationfinder, Laos is simply governed by the revolutionary party of the Communist Laotian people, which is the only allowed party in the country. The Communist Party has full control of almost all of society, including the judiciary and the media. Criticism of the political system is not tolerated.
In its Democracy Index for 2019, Freedom House describes Laos as “not free”. Freedom of assembly and assembly is severely limited and the state exercises strict control over the world of associations and organizations.
- Countryaah: Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Laos, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Several regime-critical activists have suddenly disappeared and the police make few or no attempts to find them. Other regime critics have been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences for cooperating with foreign powers with the aim of undermining the state, spreading propaganda and arranging protests to cause “turmoil”. The few regime-critical protests that have occurred in recent years have quickly been turned down by the police.
The military has a great political influence in Laos. A number of militaries are found in the inner circle of the Communist Party and in the Parliament (National Assembly). The Armed Forces also have a strong position in the business world where it has built up a corporate empire.
Women and ethnic minorities, on the other hand, are underrepresented in politics, despite the fact that a certain number of parliamentary seats are reserved for women. In 2011, a woman from the Hmong people became a member of the Politburo.
Corruption is widespread within the ruling elite. It often takes place in connection with large construction projects within the raw material extraction or dam construction for hydropower. In the Transparency International Corruption Index for 2019, Laos ranked 130th out of 180 countries (see full list here). It was two investments better than the year before.
Freedom of expression and media
Laotian media is completely state-controlled and private ownership in the media world is prohibited. According to the law, freedom of the press and freedom of speech prevails, but at the same time it is punishable to prosecute the state, distort the regime’s policies or spread false rumors. Self-censorship therefore belongs to the everyday life of the country’s journalists.
In Reporters Without Borders index of media freedom in the world 2020, Laos ranked 172 out of 180 countries (see full list here). This is roughly the same location as the country has had over the last seven years.
Non-regime-controlled information is disseminated through a domestic banned opposition radio station, through international (primarily Thai) TV and radio programs, which can be accessed freely, and via the Internet.
Judicial system and legal security
The Communist Party and the state power control the judiciary, which is plagued by a lack of trained lawyers, prosecutors and judges, even if small improvements are made. The defendant usually lacks a defender and the legal security is thus low.
In addition to the formal judicial system, there are at the village level a kind of mediation groups or public courts, ruled by the Communist Party. These often have a greater impact on people’s lives than the formal legal system. Even in the public courts, legal certainty is low.
It is difficult to get a clear picture of the human rights situation, not least because of censorship. The death penalty is punishable but is probably rarely enforced, if at all. There are reports of abuse and torture in prisons. The figures on the number of political prisoners vary greatly, from a few to several hundred. Both the regime and the hmong guerrillas have been charged with human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, in connection with the armed uprising (see Political system).
Serious deficiencies in health care for children
According to Save the Children, 69 percent of the children in Laos lack access to basic health care.