The Representative of Lao PDR to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath, gave a presentation on the country’s human rights obligations and commitments at a workshop on ASEAN for up to 100 representatives of civil society organizations, locally called as non-profits associations (NPAs), which was held on 17 October 2013 in Vientiane.
The Representative spoke of the country’s participation and engagement in the international human rights system. Today, of the nine core United Nations human rights treaties, Lao PDR is party to seven, namely ICERD, CEDAW, CRC, ICCPR, ICESCR, CRPD and CAT. Also at the international level, Lao PDR has engaged in the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Many of the treaties’ provisions are reflected in the national constitution and laws, and are being translated into policies and actions. Lao PDR has also accepted many of the UPR recommendations from the first cycle of UPR. Currently, the country is preparing for the second cycle of UPR which will take place in early 2015 and NPAs as stakeholders in the process have a part to play. He then spoke of the Lao PDR’s engagement in human rights cooperation at the regional level, highlighting the role of AICHR as the overarching human rights institution in ASEAN established in accordance with the ASEAN Charter and functioning based on its Terms of Reference adopted in 2009. The Representative emphasized the importance of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in providing an overall framework for the regional cooperation in the realization of human rights in the ASEAN Community building. At the end of the session, the Representative answered questions and offered his views on comments raised by participants.