UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Plans To Visit Laos Soon But What Will He See?

A look at existing conditions in communist Pathet Lao ruled Laos, one of the world's poorest and most corrupt nations inhabited by six million people.
April 9, 2009 - PRLog -- Story abstract: UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon plans to visit Laos soon.  What will he see?  For the most part, only what the communist Pathet Lao allow him to see.


In Laos, there is only one "legal" full-time photojournalist given "official" permission by Pathet Lao to do photojournalism work there on a daily basis out in the open and he contributes to AFP….. Laos ranked 161st out of 169 countries listed in the 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index.


………The Hmong are taken to refuge type detention centers and are malnourished and mistreated according to the last people from civil society who actually saw one of these facilities. Malnourished Hmong in rural Laos can be observed just 15 kilometers from Luang Prabang……….


Organized healthcare in rural Laos is virtually non-existent.  Basic medicine such as aspirin is unavailable in the countryside where doctors earn $40-60 USD per month and diagnostic equipment is scarce.  Take the case of sixteen-year-old Khenemone Chanmeechai, a resident of the National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) in Vientiane, Laos. ……….a one-hundred percent foreign funded institution comprised off roughly ten NGO's that provide a variety of services.  According to an NGO official, the facility receives no funding from the Pathet Lao government.  


Typically, teachers in Laos earn $20 USD per month while trying to educate student bodies 120-400.  Many schools are comprised of main structures containing three or four classrooms along with a detached dirt floored bamboo bungalow reserved for the youngest students. ………


Laos is a communist state inhabited by 6 million people, and ranks among the world's poorest nations.  The country stands to win big if their hydropower potential is tapped since Laos has 60,400 cubic meters of renewable water resources per capita, more than any other country in Asia……….Virtually all funding for the region's dam construction will come from China through state-owned financial institutions such as the Chinese Export-Import Bank.  


According to The World yavch Bank, one-half of Laotian citizens are living below the poverty line.  Fifty to sixty percent of the populace still lives a subsistence lifestyle…………….In Laos, rice grown by rural farmers in small villages is divided into thirds, the first third going to the communist government…………..40% of the annual national budget some years, 40% of that amount goes directly to the Pathet Lao government payroll.  Determining how important the government views funding of education is difficult at best, for Laos ranked 168th Transparency International's 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) out of 179 countries listed.  

Covering these issues, John Brown visited Laos to get a closer look. The result is this photo/text reportage that depicts the shocking circumstances under which the Lao citizenry lives.      

To have a look at the material, please go to: http://pa.photoshelter.com/usr-show/U0000c97S5j4fn.U and do a "Laos" keyword search, or go to

http://johnbrownphotos.blogspot.com for more information.

The package includes over 100 publishable and captioned photos, along with a 1200 word article that is now available for print publications around the world.

Please contact photojournalist John Brown if you are interested: e-mail: mmaster891@hotmail.com

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John Brown is a freelance photojournalist /writer based in central Cambodia and is available for assignments in the region.
Source:Cambodia Based Photojournalist John Brown
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Tags:Laos, Ban Ki Moon, Photos, Photography, Photojournalism, Communism, Living Conditions, Politics
Industry:Government, Photography, Travel
Location:Kampong Cham - Kampong Cham - Cambodia
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