Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Top policy questions about Laos?

Questions I think we need to be asking, no matter where we live this year:

What is the current timeline, details and implications of mandated agreements to be developed between the LPDR and the United States on the deportation of Lao-born individuals or individuals born in the refugee camps. Will we see sudden enforcement and deportation of Laotians to Laos? And how will cases for those with medication and additional special needs be handled? Will there be a blanket policy or a case-by-case review for those who had originally come to the US seeking asylum?

Will there be efforts to ease family reunification, especially with immigration reform gaining momentum.

How is the US assisting development of the Lao judicial systems and what is the nature of increased counter-narcotics assistance. Given that many narcotics charges carry death sentences, this should be an issue of interest. If you can't guarantee fair trials, should any nation be implementing death sentences?

Where are US efforts headed regarding UXO clearance considering that the US is responsible for at least 74 million leftover munitions in Laos.

We also need discussions on how Lao can effectively provide strategic philanthropic support in-line with US policy, which, given recent developments over the years must be of concern to us.

There are of course many others, ranging from environmental development and deforestation issues to efforts to support schools, libraries and the arts in Laos, but these are some that I think should definitely be on our radar.

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