Laos: 5 villagers beaten, arrested for protesting community land encroachmentEvent
- Lao People's Democratic Republic
- Initial Date
- Mar 25, 2022
- Event Description
The five villagers detained by soldiers on Sunday had not been formally arrested but were taken away for “re-education” because they had gathered others to stage a protest and cause disruptions, Phouvone said. “Thus, the officers had to assert their control and prevent more problems.”
Sources told RFA on Tuesday that the five now held are being questioned by military authorities, with no word given yet on when they may be released.
“The military will release them later, but they may still end up being held for a while,” a Naxaithong district official said. “Their families have asked the military for permission to visit and bring them some food, but their request was denied.
“The military officers haven’t said when they’re going to release the villagers. But some rumors say they might be freed sometime after the Lao New Year on April 15,” a district villager added.
Reached for comment, family members of some of those now held declined to speak about the case, fearing retaliation by authorities, while one family member was ordered on Monday to delete a video he had taken of the arrests.
An official of the People’s Council, meanwhile, said his office had received no reports of the conflict or arrests.
“A report may have been sent to the economic committee, though, because the conflict involves land,” he said.
Some of the families living on the 25-hectare area of land now claimed by the army had inherited the land from their parents even before the 1975 communist takeover of Laos, and had paid property taxes on the land ever since, another villager told RFA.
“The military says that the land belongs to the army, but everybody knows that the land belongs to the villagers,” the villager said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “Before building anything, the military should at least have asked for approval from the village authorities, but in this case they began building things without any warning,” he said.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom of expression
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to Protest
- Land rights defender
- Armed forces/ Military
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 25 March 2022, 5 land rights defenders were beaten and detained for "re-education" by the military for protesting the illegal land encroachment of community land now taken by the military in Naxaithong district, Laos.