America’s Stateless Hmong

America’s Stateless HmongThey came to the United States in the 1970s and 1980s as child refugees, members of the Hmong minority in Laos fleeing that country’s new communist government and persecution for helping the CIA in its covert war in Southeast Asia, looking for the promise of safety and a piece of the American dream. Many of…

40 Years On, Laos Still Covered with Unexploded Ordinance

40 Years On, Laos Still Covered with Unexploded OrdinanceWith less than 1 percent of the unexploded ordinance in Laos removed more than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the United States, which dropped it on the poverty-stricken country, is set to boost funding to remove it. Deaths and injuries from unexploded ordinance, or UXO, have decreased dramatically over the past…

Industrialization Hits Laos

Industrialization Hits LaosLand grabs in Laos are driving poor farmers, including ethnic minorities, off their land, away from livelihoods they know and into further poverty, activists and experts say.  “When these lands [are given] to companies and converted to industrial agriculture or other uses, it destroys the foundation of rural people’s lives, livelihoods and knowledge systems, as…

Little Help for Laotian Bomb Victims

Little Help for Laotian Bomb VictimsA full 40 years after the last bombs fell on Laos, a quarter of the country’s villages remain contaminated by a diabolical array of unexploded ordinance that continues to take lives and maim the unwary. The weapons contaminating the countryside include large bombs, rockets, grenades, artillery shells, mortars, landmines and cluster bombs dropped or thrown…

Laos’s Misguided Drug Regime

Laos’s Misguided Drug RegimeLaos, trapped between thriving opium and methamphetamine producers in Myanmar and a reported consumer base of more than two million drug users in China - has sought to limit the impact of drug transit, use and production on its population. But the government’s policies, which harshly penalize drug use, are hampering efforts to treat addiction,…