There is a growing list of human rights abuses and acts of violence against those who have sought to promote political transparency and freedom in Laos. Laos has long been an authoritarian state with no tolerance for public criticism. Increasingly, however, it appears to be also becoming a criminal state, where corrupt elites have enmeshed themselves within the state apparatus for the purpose of accumulating wealth.
To discuss whether Laos is now a criminal state, Dr Kearrin Sims, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at James Cook University, joins Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories. Dr Sims researches the politics of development and regional connectivity within Mainland Southeast Asia, with a focus on ethical and inclusive development. His recent work examines the intersections between extractive development, criminality, and human rights.
Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.