All posts filed under: News & Updates

UN expert: Laos’ approach ‘destroyed livelihoods, entrenched vulnerability’

Laos’ economic and poverty alleviation approach is counterproductive to its impoverished population’s health and puts their rights at risk, according to a scathing preliminary report by United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, which was recorded live for the first time. Alston delivered the report at the UN House in Vientiane Thursday after investigating the human rights of people in poverty in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The report includes the status of rural children, women and ethnic minorities, environmental issues and climate change, the role of foreign investment and infrastructure projects, access to social support, education and healthcare, and more. Alston acknowledged the government’s progress in reducing poverty, such as lowering the number of those living below the poverty line in half, but said its methods to grow the economy have “destroyed livelihoods, entrenched vulnerability, and actually made some people poorer by taking away their access to lands, livelihoods, and resources.” Almost 1/4 of the population lives in poverty and an estimated 80 percent lives at risk of poverty, according to the report. The UN expert …

A win for incoming Ohio senator Tina Maharath is a win for the Lao American community

Coming from an unexpected win as senator for Ohio’s 3rd district, Democrat Tina Maharath is relishing her success as she travels throughout southeast Asia to reconnect with family. Many are calling Maharath an underdog as she won despite unlikely circumstances. Unofficial Nov. 8 midterm election votes showed Maharath’s opponent, veteran Republican lawmaker Anne Gonzales, in the lead by just a few hundred votes and it seemed as if the race was headed toward a recount. But after Franklin County election officials counted provisional and late absentee ballots more than two weeks later, Maharath took home the win by about 705 votes. “It doesn’t feel real right now,” Maharath said in a Facebook video announcement from Bangkok, Thailand. “I couldn’t have done this without everyone’s support. Thank you for all the contributions from all over the world, everyone who voted for me, everyone who helped raise me, everyone who was there for me when I wanted to give up…” Maharath, a 27-year-old financial analyst from Canal Winchester, pulled ahead when the odds were stacked against her. She had …