Laotian activists are facing alarming incidents including murder, attempted killing, and disappearances, fueling fears of a governmental crackdown. This wave of incidents has heightened concern within the country’s repressed dissident community. Laos, already recognized as one of the world’s most repressive states, is set to chair ASEAN next year. Critics suggest these incidents could be an effort to stifle dissent ahead of the international spotlight, demonstrating the limits of dissent in this tightly controlled state.
Amnesty International has urged Cambodia to stop the “mass forced evictions” of 10,000 families from the Angkor Wat temple complex, as the Cambodian government relocates them to a new community to protect the ruins from squatters whose informal settlements are damaging the local environment. The government says people are moving voluntarily, but Amnesty claims villagers faced “implicit threats if they did not move” and were not properly consulted or given enough notice. The ruined Angkor Wat temples are Cambodia’s top tourist attraction.
Amnesty International has called for better global regulation of “less lethal weapons” used by police against peaceful protesters, after research in over 30 countries showed an alarming increase in eye injuries, bone fractures, brain injuries, and even deaths caused by rubber bullets, tear gas grenades and rubberised buckshot. Amnesty said legally-binding global controls on the manufacture and trade in such weapons are urgently needed to combat escalating abuses.