Amnesty International report say serious human rights concerns persisted in Laos in 2004. the Lao military stepped up its offensive against the mainly ethnic Hmong rebel groups. Reports of torture and at least two deaths in custody lent weight to concerns about detention and the state of the judicial system.
At least four prisoners of conscience remained in detention. Despite death sentences being handed down by the Lao People’s courts, there were no reports of executions. There were, however, increased suppression of religious practice, expecially of Evangelical Christianity.
The government made some efforts to increase transparency and its engagement with the international community on human rights issues. But Laos continues to delay ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the international Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, both of which it signed in 2000.
For more details, listen to our Amnesty-Laos report.