SEA Games Crisis in Laos: Lao PDR Listed As Among World's Most Corrupt Nations
"People should be aware of the significant and serious corruption issue within the public-sector in Laos as pointed out by Transparency International and other non-governmental and human rights organizations, especially if they are thinking of traveling to Laos for the SEA Games events, as tourists or doing business there. Ordinary Laotians from abroad should also be aware of this tragic ongoing reality and the cancer of corruption that continues to infect the public sector in Laos and erode Lao civil society under the LPDR regime," said Philip Smith, of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Berlin, Germany, Washington, D.C. and Vientiane, Laos - November 18, 2009 - Laos scored as one of the most corrupt nations in the world of over 180 nations ranked in a corruption study by the international non-governmental organization Transparency International ( TI ). Laos is set to host the Southeast Games ( SEA Games or SEAG ) in the coming weeks in Vientiane, Laos., and has been besieged by internal opposition to the one-party military regime that rules the country. Political and religious dissidents, as well as ordinary Laotian and Hmong citizens opposed to the Stalinist military junta, have cited endemic corruption as one of the key sources of civil discontent with the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) leadership that has boiled over into marches and demonstrations in Vientiane. Widespread human rights abuses and corruption in the Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ), which dominates Laos’ communist politburo and government, has fueled civil unrest and mass arrests by the LPDR government in recent weeks as hundreds of Laotians have sought to protest against the Lao government. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) has deployed more special combat troops and secret police to Laos in recent weeks to seek to stop the spread of opposition to the LPDR regime in recent weeks as the opening of the SEA games approaches in December. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105478.html http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105230.html
“The LPDR in Laos is listed among the bottom countries in the world, in TI’s recent study, as one of the most corrupt nation’s globally, and give low marks based upon a corruption perception index ( CPI ) of public sector corruption. Business, and personal risk, is among the highest in the world in Laos as it relates to systemic corruption within the public sector in Laos,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Smith explained further: “ Widespread bribery and extortion are common within the Lao government and public sector in the LPDR as well as other more elaborate and sophisticated forms of corruption in Laos. Since Laos does not have an independent judiciary, efforts to report corruption by the government, army and public officials in Laos usually results in the arrest or imprisonment of the individual, company or business raising allegations of corruption.” http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table
Transparency International ( TI ), is a global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption, bringing people together in a powerful worldwide coalition to end the devastating impact of corruption on men, women and children around the world.
TI’s mission is to create change towards a world free of corruption. http://www.transparency.org Transparency International challenges the inevitability of corruption, and offers hope to its victims. Since its founding in 1993, TI has played a lead role in improving the lives of millions around the world by building momentum for the anti-corruption movement. TI raises awareness and diminishes apathy and tolerance of corruption, and devises and implements practical actions to address it.
Laos was recently listed as one of the most problematic and least favorable places for journalists by Reporters Without Borders ( RWB or Reporters Sans Frontieres ). Laos was listed at the bottom of the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders as the 7th worst country in the world, out of 175 nations rated, for journalists and lack of press freedom, along with allied rogue nations Burma and North Korea. Laos and its communist leaders have has frequently been listed as “press predators” by Reporters Without Borders. Independent ownership of the news media in Laos is also prohibited. http://www.rsf.org/en-classement1003-2009.html
“This month, the SEA Games have already been overshadowed by mass arrests and military intervention by Lao army and secret police units in Vientiane and elsewhere in Laos who, along with special units of the Vietnam Peoples Army ( VPA ), have arrested or imprisoned over 1176 Laotians this month, including students, political and religious dissidents, activists and ordinary Laotian and Hmong citizens, many of who were seeking reform and an end to systemic corruption among the governing political elite in Laos who are members of the communist party or military,” Smith said.
Mr. Smith concluded: “People should be aware of the significant and serious corruption issue within the public-sector in Laos as pointed out by Transparency International and other non-governmental and human rights organizations, especially if they are thinking of traveling to Laos for the SEA Games events, as tourists or doing business there. Ordinary Laotians from abroad should also be aware of this tragic ongoing reality and the cancer of corruption that continues to infect the public sector in Laos and erode Lao civil society under the LPDR regime.”
Three American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota, including Mr. Hakit Yang, who were seeking business investment opportunities and traveling as tourists to Laos in 2007 were arrested without charge by Lao military and security officials and imprisoned in Vientiane’s notorious Phonthong Prison. The three American citizens, who were moved to another prison after being interrogated and tortured in Vientiane, continue to be jailed in Laos. The three were Hmong-American seeking to purchase a business or invest in Laos. Mrs. Sheng Xiong, a spokesperson for Hakit Yang, and three Hmong-American families of the imprisoned men, has repeatedly appealed to the Lao government to provide information about the whereabouts of the three Twin Cities men and to release them. Mrs. Sheng Xiong along with Australian author and humanitarian activist Kay Danes were keynote speakers at a Laos National Policy Conference earlier this year at the National Press Club and U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1089561.html http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1089564.html http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1090996.html
Over 5,000 Lao Hmong political refugees are being threatened with forced repatriation back to the LPDR regime in Laos which they fled by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand, Army General and Chief-of-Staff Anupong Paochinda, Minister of the Interior ( MOI ) Chavarat Charnvirakulhave and other Thai officials. http://www.pr-inside.com/his-majesty-bhumibol-adulayadej-the-r1586480.htm
Freedom House, the non-profit and non-governmental human rights organization, has listed Laos, under the LPDR regime, as among the worst regimes for its egregious human rights violations in its recent “Worst of the Worst” reports in 2009. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1095599.html
The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom ( USCIRF ) has listed Laos, under the LPDR, on its watch list of countries engaged in religious persecution and religious freedom violations. Thousands of Laotian and Hmong refugees have fled religious and political persecution in Laos in recent years and are living as refugees in Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai, Thailand.
Contact: Mr. John Smith or Ms. Maria Gomez Deputy Communications Director ( s ) Telephone: ( 202 ) 543-1444
CPPA -Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Penna. Ave., North West No.#212 Washington, D.C. 20006 USA
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