Five-Year Review: State Party Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) was among the first 30 ratifications to trigger the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010. Lao PDR hosted and served as President of the convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in November 2010. It has participated in all of the convention’s subsequent meetings. Lao PDR served as the convention’s co-coordinator on clearance and risk education in 2012–2014. It works to promote universalization of the convention and has condemned new use of cluster munitions. Lao PDR has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to interpretation and implementation of the convention.
In its initial transparency report provided in 2011, Lao PDR confirmed it has never produced cluster munitions and has no stockpile, including for research or training. Lao PDR states that it has never used or transferred cluster munitions.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 18 March 2009. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the entry into force of the convention on 1 August 2010.
Lao PDR has expressed its intent to enacting specific legislation for the convention. It has listed existing laws and decrees under national implementation measures in its transparency reports. In 2013, Lao PDR informed States Parties that it intends to “establish laws which adequately and fully reflect the high standards achieved in this convention.” In April 2014, it confirmed that “national legislation that covers our remaining legislative obligations under the Convention” will be drafted by the Ministry of Justice in consultation with relevant agencies.
Lao PDR submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 25 January 2011 and has provided annual updates ever since, most recently on 6 May 2015.
As the most heavily contaminated country in the world in terms of cluster munition remnants, Lao PDR’s support was a crucial element in the success of the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Lao PDR participated extensively in the Oslo Process and advocated strongly against proposals to weaken the treaty text. Lao PDR hosted a key regional conference on cluster munitions in Xiengkhuang in October 2008.
Lao PDR continued to play a leadership role in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions ever since. It hosted the convention’s historic First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane in November 2010 and served as president. It has participated in all of the convention’s subsequent Meetings of States Parties, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014, where it made several statements.
Lao PDR has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings held in Geneva, most recently in June 2015. It has participated in regional workshops on cluster munitions.
Lao PDR served as the convention’s co-coordinator on clearance and risk reduction education in 2012–2014.
Lao PDR has undertaken many efforts to promote the universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Lao PDR urged all nations that have not yet done so to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and “send a strong message” against the use of cluster munitions.
At the UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament in October 2014, Lao PDR spoke about the harmful and costly legacy caused by cluster munition use and stated “We therefore condemn the continued use of cluster munitions in some parts of the world and urge those countries who have not done so to ratify or accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions as soon as possible.”
During the Fifth Meeting of States Parties, the CMC held a film screening for delegates of “On Cleared Ground,” a feature-length documentary film about soccer in one of Lao PDR’s most heavily unexploded ordinance (UXO) contaminated provinces.
Lao PDR is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Lao PDR has elaborated its views on several important matters related to its interpretation and implementation of the convention. In June 2011, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official informed the Monitor, “With regard to your question on relations with states not party to this convention, we are aware of the different interpretations of the Article 21. For us it is clear that we strongly support the full prohibition of cluster munitions, including those activities during the joint military operations, transiting, foreign stockpiling and investment in the production of cluster munitions.”
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
In its initial Article 7 report, Lao PDR declared that it “has no stockpiles” of cluster munitions and was not retaining any cluster munitions for training and research.
Lao PDR reported that it has never produced cluster munitions.
Lao PDR also has stated that it has never used or transferred cluster munitions.
The United States (US) used air-delivered cluster munitions extensively between 1964 and 1973, dropping more than two million tons of ordnance, including more than 270 million submunitions. The 50th anniversary of the 1964 start of the US air campaign saw major US media outlets cover the legacy of cluster munition contamination in Lao PDR, but with few if any references to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Lao PDR’s leadership role in creating it.
 Lao PDR declared various selected articles of the penal code including on illegal production, possession, and use of war weapons and explosives; illegal trade of war weapons and explosives; and robbery, embezzlement, and looting of war weapons and explosives. It has also listed laws and decrees related to the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 25 January 2011. The 2015 report lists a new victim assistance strategy as well as the NRA’s provisional approval of a new survey procedure. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 6 May 2015.
 Statement of Lao PDR, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013. Lao PDR previously indicated that the relevant sections of the penal code might be amended to reflect its obligations under the convention. Statement of Lao PDR, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 16 April 2013; and statement of Lao PDR, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 18 April 2012.
 Various time periods have been covered by Article 7 reports provided on 25 January 2011 (for the 24-year period from 1 January 1996 to 30 November 2010), 22 March 2012 (for the period from 1 December 2010 to 31 December 2011), 28 March 2013 (for calendar year 2013), 30 April 2014 (for calendar year 2013), and 6 May 2015 (for calendar year 2014).
 For more details on Lao PDR’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 103–105.
 The CMC held the film screening in collaboration with the governments of Costa Rica, Lao PDR, and Sweden, and the Costa Rican Football Federation. See, CMC, “The Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” undated but 2014.
 Email from Maytong Thammavongsa, Director of UN, Political, and Security Affairs Division, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 June 2011.
 Ibid., Form E, 25 January 2011. The form is completed as “Non applicable.”
 Letter from Saleumxay Kommasith, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 February 2009; and interview with Saleumxay Kommasith, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vientiane, 31 March 2011. Historical photographic and testimonial evidence, however, shows that the former Royal Lao Air Force used US-supplied cluster munitions during the Indochina War.
 See, “50 Years After U.S. Launched Secret War on Laos, Unexploded Bombs Still Killing Civilians,” Democracy Now, 25 June 2014; Thomas Fuller, “One Woman’s Mission to Free Laos From Millions of Unexploded Bombs,” The New York Times, 5 April 2015; and Stephen M Bland, “Meeting the Laotians Clearing Their Country of America's Unexploded Bombs,” VICE News, 1 June 2015.