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Helvetas employee expelled from Laos

Anne-Sophie Gindroz, Helvetas country director in Laos had to leave the country on December 9th. Critisism of government statements were mentioned as a reason for this expulsion.
On December 7th, Laotian authorities request the Helvetas country director, Anne-Sophie Gindroz to leave Laos within 48 hours. She is accused of taking up position of anti-governmental propaganda.
The authorities did not specify the contents of the criticism on which the censure is based.

Anne-Sophie Gindroz arrived in Thailand on Sunday 9th, where she waits for further decisions. Her husband and her children remain in the capital of Laos, Vientiane at the moment.

The Laotian authorities underline that this eviction is not managed against Helvetas. They ask explicitly for the implementation of a new country director which continues with the important commitment of Helvetas.

The expulsion of a country director is an unusual occurrence. In association with the Swiss government, Helvetas undertakes steps to obtain more information. Ambassador Christoph Burgener, based in Bangkok and also responsible for Laos, is at present in touch with the Laotian political authorities.

Helvetas is active in Laos for ten years. The main point of the commitment lies in the areas agricultural discussion, water and infrastructure as well as vocational training. The annual program volume amounts to about 3 million Swiss francs.