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Laos rejects human rights abuse charges

SOURCE: Source: Lao National Radio, Vientiane, in Lao 1200 gmt 22 Sep 00

Text of analytical feature entitled: "Human rights do not depend on the existence or development of any particular nation"; broadcast by Laotian radio on 22nd September

As the reports on the so-called suppression of student protest in Vientiane, the disappearance of two ethnic Hmong Americans in Laos last year, and the arrest of foreign missionaries on charge of law violation in Laos have been repeatedly clamoured, and the Voice of Free Asia radio and English-language 'Bangkok Post' newspaper keep propagating features and articles labelling the Lao People's Revolutionary Party [LPRP] as a dictatorial organization that has no respect for democracy and human rights. Such slanderous accusations are unacceptable because they contradict the actual deeds and policies of the LPRP.

We are well aware of the fact that all nations cherish democracy, human rights, and peace and order. In the present era of globalization in which the world is changing rapidly, we all know that the existence of and developments in a country are part of the fate of humanity. For this reason, all countries, including Laos, have been exerting arduous efforts to observe human rights and maintain peace and order. Any sane person knows that democracy and human rights mean personal rights to normal life and livelihood which are directly related to the well-being and prosperity of the country. Nobody should be forced to accept and observe any human rights standard set by other countries which is not compatible with the actual conditions prevailing in the country.

Laos is a sovereign state and the Lao people are the masters of their own destiny, not the slaves of any other countries. Therefore, human rights have already been incorporated in the rights of the Lao citizens in conformity with international law and the country's historical background. People in different countries have different ways of life, cultures, history, and languages as well as concepts of human rights. This explains the obvious distinction that has been existing centuries ago between the two civilizations of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. For this reason, it can be said that human rights do not depend on the existence or development of any particular nation.

The Lao government has been consistently implementing its human rights policy as prescribed by the constitution. Regardless of races, skin colours, and ethnicity, people are equal before law. The state is also keen in implementing the policy of promoting unity and equality among ethnic groups and forbids any act of sowing discord in the country. This policy conforms with aspiration of the people who want to live and earn their living under the atmosphere of peace and stability. Therefore, personal rights and freedoms can never be allowed to be placed above social peace and order or hinder the progress of society. Personal rights and freedoms are observed not at the cost of the rights and freedoms of other people. People must abide by the country's law. Hence their basic rights and freedoms are guaranteed. Human rights have nothing in common with selfishness. National interests must come before personal interests. Nobody is allowed to infringe on the rights and freedoms of other people or other countries. The people who sabotage social peace and order and national interests are punished everywhere, including in the developed nations. The allegations that the LPRP is a dictatorial party that has no respect for democracy and human rights made by the Voice of Free Asia radio and some Thai newspapers are nothing but a moral support for the bad elements who dislike the Lao People's Democratic Republic.