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South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific


Laos ranks 113 out of 162 countries in the Gender Inequality Index, where a high rank equals high equality. Women should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.


Laos has a Workplace Index score of 5.3, a Marketplace Index score of 4.6 and a Community and Environment Index score of 6.2 in the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, where countries receive scores between 0 and 10. A score closer to 0 reflects a need for basic children’s rights due diligence, while a higher score reflects a need for enhanced or heightened due diligence. Children should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though. 

Persons with Disabilities

Due to differences in data collection and definitions it is difficult to compare countries on disability prevalence rates. Persons with disabilities should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.

Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

According to the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, the main minorities and indigenous groups in Laos are Khmou, Hmong, Phouthay, Tai, Makong, Katang, Lue and Akha. Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s most ethnically diverse countries and the ethnic groups are officially distinguished into three categories: the lowland ethnic groups known as Lao Loum, the midland groups known collectively as the Lao Theung and the highland groups Lao Sung. Officially, the government only recognizes 49 ethnic groups, with 160 ethnic sub-groups, but does not recognize them as indigenous peoples. The actual number of ethnic groups is thought to be much higher.

The Lao majority is mostly Buddhist. While many religions are generally practiced freely under government control, practitioners of Protestant Christianity, the majority of whom are minorities such as Khmou, Brou and Hmong, have been targeted through arrests, detentions, destruction of churches, forced renunciations and ‘re-education’.

Migrant Workers​

According to the ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers, migrant workers as a proportion of all workers is 3.4 % in the subregion South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific.

Persons in Armed Conflict

Laos ranks 69 out of 179 countries in the Fragile States Index, where a high rank equals high fragility. For monthly crisis updates, check out CrisisWatch

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