Lao PDR: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considers report of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
29 February 2012

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today considered the combined sixteenth to eighteenth periodic reports of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on how that country is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Introducing the report, Chaleun Yiapaoheu, Head of the Lao Delegation, Minister of Justice and Chairman of the National Committee on Reporting under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said 49 ethnic groups lived in Lao People’s Democratic Republic in peace and harmony, all equal under the Constitution. The Criminal Code now listed discrimination based on ethnicity as an offence. The National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy focused on rural development, reduction of economic gaps and relocation of people from remote areas to new villages. The Land Titling Project had produced tangible results that ensured all Lao persons had the right to own land. Equal employment opportunities for all ethnic groups were ensured, and people from smaller ethnic groups were given priority for jobs in most major development projects. Following anthropological research on ethnic groups in the country, the Government found that allegations of maltreatment and discrimination against the Hmong ethnic group were groundless, and aimed at destroying the good image and continued efforts by the Government to cooperate with the international community in the promotion and protection of human rights. More

BANGLADESH: Open-pit coal mine project in Bangladesh threatens human rights – UN experts

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

28 February 2012 –

The construction of an open-pit coal mine in Bangladeshcould displace hundreds of thousands of people and jeopardize their access to basic needs, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts warned today.“The Government of Bangladesh must ensure that any policy concerning open-pit coal mining includes robust safeguards to protect human rights. In the interim, the Phulbari coal mine should not be allowed to proceed because of the massive disruptions it is expected to cause,” the experts said in a statement.The group noted that if opened, the proposed mine would immediately displace an estimated 50,000 to 130,000 people, with up to 220,000 potentially being affected over time as irrigation channels and wells dry up.In addition, the project would reportedly extract 572 million tons of coal over the next 36 years from a site covering nearly 6,000 hectares, and destroy some 12,000 hectares of productive agricultural land. More

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