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What COVID-19? Synthetic Drug Trade Thrives In Mekong Region

The synthetic drug trade is booming in East and Southeast Asia, where the 5 lower Mekong countries account for just over 70% of  methamphetamine seizures in 2020. Resilient syndicates are diversifying production and distribution, while methamphetamine prices are going down and helping push up demand in the region.

Laos: To See And Be Seen

For the third year, a group of Lao photographers travelled to remote rural villages in the northern part of the country as part of a photo trip-cum-workshop. They did not, however, just take photos of the residents, but gave something back by teaching them how to shoot pictures – and showed them films (including Charlie Chaplin ones).

From Laos to Bangladesh: Notes from A Rohingya Refugee Camp

For Lao film producer Vannaphone Sitthirath, a two-hour visit to the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh leads to reflections about the gift of having options in life, and questions about practices like polygamy. She shares these thoughts in this article for the Reporting ASEAN series.

Looking for Space in the Lao Dam Debate

Laos’ road to its hydropower in the last 20 years or so has from been an easy, or smooth, one. Looking back, it has been the focus of efforts, led by the World Bank, for setting better standards for dam projects, as well as  the magnet for a cascade of criticism from environmental and other campaign groups. Johanna Son deliver into these in the second part of this set of stories for  Heinrich Boll Foundation Southeast Asia.

Laos and Cambodia: The China Dance

Laos has been more diplomatically adept than Cambodia at balancing ties with China with those of other countries. But while both are undoubtedly dancing with China, the social, economic and developmental cost of this dance remains to be seen in the coming years, says Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN in this analysis.

Vietnamese Youngsters in Laos: Home Alone

Poor economic conditions at home and easy border crossings have meant that many Vietnamese are venturing to neighbouring countries like Laos and Malaysia for employment opportunities. Phuong Anh of Red Scarf magazine looks at the social cost of migration for work and the impact on the children of such migrants in this Reporting ASEAN story.

Vietnamese in Laos: Studying Away from Home

For Vietnamese students in Vientiane, summer is the long-awaited season for them to head home to connect with family, friends and their own culture. Phuong Anh of Red Scarf magazine finds out what various students are looking forward to doing back home in Vietnam during their holidays.

School Brings Students Closer To Home

The Nguyen Du Vietnamese-Lao Bilingual School has the largest number of Vietnamese students in Vientiane. Making up a quarter of the school’s population, these students learn Vietnamese for six to eight hours every week and are also taught Vietnam’s history. Phuong Anh finds out more about the school.

As ASEAN Chair, Laos Walks Tightrope Among Big Powers

A small and landlocked country, Laos has learned, throughout its long history, how to survive among big powers. As ASEAN chair this year, it handles summits with external powers courting the organisation – the US, Russia and China. So far, so good, writes Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

After 10 Years of Talking, ASEAN and Activists Still Far Apart

It’s been 10 years since civil society groups in ASEAN started having annual interactions with ASEAN leaders, including face-to-face meetings at summits. But beyond making headlines, how effective have these been in influencing ASEAN’s work or its members’ policies? Mia Gomez and Johanna Son attend a meeting ahead of the 2016 ASEAN People’s Forum to find out in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

ASEM Summit Brings Great Benefits to Laos

VIENTIANE, Nov 10 (Vientiane Times) – The recent 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) Summit creates a new record in Laos’ political history, and with many new bilateral agreements between Laos and other ASEM member countries complete.

‘Flawed’ Human Rights Document Would Hurt ASEAN – Activists

In this Sep.26 open letter, human rights activists argue that “serious flaws” in the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, set to be adopted by ASEAN later in the year, must be addressed. If not, they say, the declaration would “not bode well for the reputation and credibility” of the ASEAN human rights mechanism.

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