Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Laos
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||30 April 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Laos, 30 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48196ca31e.html [accessed 20 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Since 2002, the Government of Laos has consistently denounced international terrorism and expressed a willingness to cooperate with the international community on counterterrorism, but has taken little proactive action to combat terrorism. In addition to a lack of resources, Lao officials at many levels believed that Laos, a small and neutral country, would not be targeted or exploited by international terrorists.
Laos did not have a separate counterterrorism law, but recent amendments to the criminal code sought to strengthen counterterrorism sanctions. Laos' border security was weak. Border officials could not effectively control access to the country even at its most sophisticated border checkpoints. Illegal border crossing along the Mekong River into the surrounding countries of Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia could be accomplished easily and without detection. Border delineation remained poor in more remote sections of the country, especially along the land borders with Vietnam and China; it is likely that unmonitored border crossings by locals occurred on a daily basis. Since 9/11, Lao authorities have strengthened airport security, and airport security forces participated in U.S. supported security seminars in an effort to raise their standards, but security procedures at land immigration points remained lax compared with most other countries in the region. In addition, official Lao identity documents, including passports and ID cards, were easy to obtain.
When requested, the Bank of Laos has vetted government and commercial bank holdings for possible terrorist assets, as identified by U.S.-provided lists of terrorist organizations and individuals, and issued freeze orders for assets of organizations and individuals named on these lists. However, the Bank has yet to require the freezing of assets of individuals and entities included on the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee consolidated list. In accordance with its obligations under UNSCR 1373, the Bank of Lao issued freeze orders for assets of organizations and individuals named in lists provided by the United States. Lao authorities issued orders limiting the amount of cash that could be withdrawn from local banks or carried into or out of the country and strengthened reporting requirements of state and privately owned commercial banks. Banking regulation remained extremely weak, however, and the banking system was vulnerable to money laundering and other illegal transactions. Cooperation between USG officials and the Bank of Laos remained cordial and cooperative.