The Diplomat

Laos Seizes Record Meth Haul Amid Regional Production Boom

Earlier this week, authorities in Laos announced the seizure of a record haul of methamphetamine, the latest indication of the massive amounts of illegal narcotics now flowing through the lower Mekong region. As per the state-run Vientiane Times, an official at the Public Security Office reported that ...

Sebastian Strangio

The Threat of a Dam Disaster in Luang Prabang

Building a huge dam just upstream from a legendary UNESCO World Heritage site in an earthquake prone region poses serious risk to the local population and the town of Luang Prabang, warns a leading Thai earthquake specialist. Dr. Punya Churasiri, formerly the earthquake expert at Chulalungkorn University’s geology ...

Tom Fawthrop

Do Cambodia’s Human Rights Groups Ignore Ethnic Vietnamese?

Prominent Cambodian human rights organizations ignore discrimination and violations committed against ethnic Vietnamese communities in the country, fearful of backlash from nationalists and supporters of the now-dissolved opposition party, according to sources who spoke to The Diplomat. Since early June, for instance, Cambodian authorities have been evicting hundreds of ...

David Hutt

Mekong Development Zones Facilitating Illicit Activities: Report

Economic development zones in mainland Southeast Asia have contributed to a range of illicit activities, including drug trafficking and wildlife trafficking, according to a new report from C4ADS, a U.S.-based research organization. The report, which analyzes 110 economic development zones (EDZs) in the five lower Mekong nations – ...

Sebastian Strangio

Vietnam: LGBTQ+ Pride in the Time of Coronavirus

The gay former Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir said, “It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world.” Sigurðardóttir’s message, delivered while defending LGBTQ+ rights at a 2014 Pride festival, would certainly have been welcomed by ...

Hugh Bohane

Cambodia Charges Eco-Activists With Conspiracy, Royal Defamation

Cambodian and international rights advocates have condemned the harsh charges imposed on three 20-something environmental activists in the country earlier this week, the latest sign of the Cambodian government’s determination to stamp out the last traces of independent political advocacy. On June 16, Sun Ratha, 26, ...

Sebastian Strangio

COVID-19 Hits Prisons in Thailand, as Nearly 3,000 Cases Detected

Yesterday, Thailand’s Department of Corrections announced that nearly 3,000 inmates at two prisons in Thailand’s capital had tested positive for COVID-19, amid the country’s ongoing outbreak of the virus. In a statement, the department said that 1,785 of the 3,274 inmates tested positive at Bangkok Remand Prison, which ...

Sebastian Strangio

4 Dams on the Upper Mekong in Yunnan, China: 2011-2019

These photos document the construction of four dams – from north to south, Wunonglong, Lidi, Tuoba, and Huangdeng (see map below) – along a 200-kilometer stretch of the upper Mekong in Yunnan, China, and the transformation of the river from a free-flowing current to a ...

Scott Ezell

Mekong Takes on Bluish Tinge as Water Levels Again Fall

Water levels in the Mekong River have fallen to “worrying” levels since the start of this year, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said last week, as the region heads into a third straight year of below average rainfall. In a statement on February 12, the Mekong ...

Sebastian Strangio

‘Not Sufficient’: Thailand Rejects Report on Lao Hydropower Dam

Thailand has reportedly rejected a new technical report on Laos’ Sanakham hydropower project – the latest sign of the growing consternation about the impact of mega-dams on the ecology of the Mekong River basin. On January 15, the country’s Chinese contractor submitted a revised technical report ...

Sebastian Strangio

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