Laura Villadiego

Laura Villadiego

Born and raised in Spain, Laura Villadiego is a freelance journalist specialized in human rights, labour issues and the environment. Based in Thailand, she has been covering Southeast Asia since 2009. Her work has been published in international media outlets, such as Al Jazeera, The Guardian or the Spanish News Agency EFE. She has also co-authored two books focused on supply chains.

Latest from Laura Villadiego

Thai villagers continue to fight Chinese plans for potash mine

Resentment among community groups in northern Thailand reflects growing concern about Chinese investment across Southeast Asia, observers say

Resentment among community groups in northern Thailand reflects growing concern about Chinese investment across Southeast Asia, observers say

Thai villagers continue to fight Chinese plans for potash mine
24 Mar 2019 - 10:57PM
Thailand delays rice bill due to farmers’ objections. Will it open the door for the Shinawatras?

March 24 elections will be the first since 2011, heralding a return to democracy after a military junta took power in 2014.

March 24 elections will be the first since 2011, heralding a return to democracy after a military junta took power in 2014.

Thailand delays rice bill due to farmers’ objections. Will it open the door for the Shinawatras?
7 Mar 2019 - 8:59AM
Malaysia could play a ‘vital role’ in mediating the conflict between Thailand’s army and Muslim separatists – but will the junta allow it?

For 15 years, a bloody conflict has raged in southern Thailand but Malaysia’s involvement in the peace process could move the country closer to a resolution

For 15 years, a bloody conflict has raged in southern Thailand but Malaysia’s involvement in the peace process could move the country closer to a resolution

Malaysia could play a ‘vital role’ in mediating the conflict between Thailand’s army and Muslim separatists – but will the junta allow it?
12 Feb 2019 - 2:40PM
Bangkok’s smog crisis forces 437 schools to close after governor warns ‘children might be harmed’

Toxic particles known as PM2.5 increased at the end of December and have since remained above the World Health Organisation’s safe threshold

Toxic particles known as PM2.5 increased at the end of December and have since remained above the World Health Organisation’s safe threshold

Bangkok’s smog crisis forces 437 schools to close after governor warns ‘children might be harmed’
30 Jan 2019 - 7:39PM
After case of Saudi runaway, Australia urges Thailand to release refugee footballer held in Bangkok since November

Hakeem al-Araibi, who has permanent residency in Australia, was detained at the request of his native Bahrain after arriving in Bangkok for his honeymoon

Hakeem al-Araibi, who has permanent residency in Australia, was detained at the request of his native Bahrain after arriving in Bangkok for his honeymoon

After case of Saudi runaway, Australia urges Thailand to release refugee footballer held in Bangkok since November
10 Jan 2019 - 7:59PM
Saudi teenager seeking asylum in Thailand may get fast-tracked refugee status, activists say
  • Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun is being evaluated by the UN refugee agency to assess her need for protection, while Human Rights Watch says a return to her home country would put her in danger as she has renounced Islam
  • Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun is being evaluated by the UN refugee agency to assess her need for protection, while Human Rights Watch says a return to her home country would put her in danger as she has renounced Islam
Saudi teenager seeking asylum in Thailand may get fast-tracked refugee status, activists say
8 Jan 2019 - 7:48PM
Will Thailand’s legal medical marijuana seed a new black market?

Unclear licensing rules have given rise to fears of foreign firms benefiting unfairly and the public thinking marijuana is now legal for everyone. It isn’t.

Unclear licensing rules have given rise to fears of foreign firms benefiting unfairly and the public thinking marijuana is now legal for everyone. It isn’t.

Will Thailand’s legal medical marijuana seed a new black market?
1 Jan 2019 - 8:20PM
Thai man guns down six family members, including his children at New Year party

Police said the man was heavily drunk and angry about feeling unwelcomed at his wife’s family’s party when he started shooting, eventually turning the gun on himself

Police said the man was heavily drunk and angry about feeling unwelcomed at his wife’s family’s party when he started shooting, eventually turning the gun on himself

Thai man guns down six family members, including his children at New Year party
1 Jan 2019 - 8:20PM
Thailand can cash in on US-China trade war, but there’s no gain without pain

Southeast Asian nation’s closeness to feuding rivals could stand it in good stead if dispute rumbles on next year, but it is not immune to the economic damage caused by the tariff war.

Southeast Asian nation’s closeness to feuding rivals could stand it in good stead if dispute rumbles on next year, but it is not immune to the economic damage caused by the tariff war.

Thailand can cash in on US-China trade war, but there’s no gain without pain
24 Jan 2019 - 6:33PM
Thailand election: political restrictions signal bumpy road for return to democracy
  • The military junta has announced that the long-delayed elections will be held on February 24. But analysts and opposition politicians question if the polls will really be free, or fair.
  • The military junta has announced that the long-delayed elections will be held on February 24. But analysts and opposition politicians question if the polls will really be free, or fair.
Thailand election: political restrictions signal bumpy road for return to democracy
21 Mar 2019 - 1:57PM
Thailand leads on same-sex unions, so why the LGBT complaints?

Thailand is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country to recognise same-sex civil unions, but many LGBT activists see the move as entrenching their status as second-class citizens

Thailand is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country to recognise same-sex civil unions, but many LGBT activists see the move as entrenching their status as second-class citizens

Thailand leads on same-sex unions, so why the LGBT complaints?
22 Nov 2018 - 9:03AM
Refugees: collateral damage in Thailand’s illegal migrant crackdown

More than 200 refugees, mainly from Vietnam, Cambodia, Syria and Pakistan, have been arrested and subjected to indefinite detention, caught up in a widespread campaign against foreigners living illegally in the country

More than 200 refugees, mainly from Vietnam, Cambodia, Syria and Pakistan, have been arrested and subjected to indefinite detention, caught up in a widespread campaign against foreigners living illegally in the country

Refugees: collateral damage in Thailand’s illegal migrant crackdown
3 Nov 2018 - 1:02PM
Thailand mulls special visas to lure back Chinese tourists after fatal boat accident and airport slap
12 Oct 2018 - 12:33PM
Coral reefs: divers volunteer as ‘gardeners’ to restore dying corals in Thailand

Amid fears that most of the world’s corals will vanish by 2050 because of overtourism, fishing and global warming, hope blooms in the form of an environmentally friendly restoration technique, as witnessed off the island of Koh Ha.

Amid fears that most of the world’s corals will vanish by 2050 because of overtourism, fishing and global warming, hope blooms in the form of an environmentally friendly restoration technique, as witnessed off the island of Koh Ha.

Coral reefs: divers volunteer as ‘gardeners’ to restore dying corals in Thailand
25 Sep 2018 - 12:37PM
Land of lady boys? Thailand is not the LGBTI paradise it appears

Sexual minorities in the Land of Smiles face discrimination in education, work and their love lives, though attitudes – and the law – are beginning to change.

Sexual minorities in the Land of Smiles face discrimination in education, work and their love lives, though attitudes – and the law – are beginning to change.

Land of lady boys? Thailand is not the LGBTI paradise it appears
7 Dec 2020 - 11:16AM
Arrested Development: women’s rights hit roadblock in Thailand with ban on female police cadets

A police academy’s decision is the latest sign the junta is firing blanks when it comes to promoting gender equality.

A police academy’s decision is the latest sign the junta is firing blanks when it comes to promoting gender equality.

Arrested Development: women’s rights hit roadblock in Thailand with ban on female police cadets
8 Sep 2018 - 1:49PM
In Thai election, any government you like – as long as it’s the junta

Recent high-profile defections by Pheu Thai Party members may be the least of the opposition’s worries as the military puts the finishing touches on a legal framework that will all but ensure it stays in power.

Recent high-profile defections by Pheu Thai Party members may be the least of the opposition’s worries as the military puts the finishing touches on a legal framework that will all but ensure it stays in power.

In Thai election, any government you like – as long as it’s the junta
9 Feb 2019 - 11:09AM
Will Thai junta use cave rescue of soccer team to save itself?

With elections looming, a successful rescue of the 12 boys trapped in a Chiang Rai cavern could prove a timely popularity boost for the military government.

With elections looming, a successful rescue of the 12 boys trapped in a Chiang Rai cavern could prove a timely popularity boost for the military government.

Will Thai junta use cave rescue of soccer team to save itself?
6 Jul 2018 - 11:56PM
Thailand’s monks run amok, but will junta’s crackdown answer its prayers?

The military government, under pressure to hold elections and seeking a popular move, has launched a campaign to clean up the monkhood. But in stoking Buddhist nationalism, it is playing with fire.

The military government, under pressure to hold elections and seeking a popular move, has launched a campaign to clean up the monkhood. But in stoking Buddhist nationalism, it is playing with fire.

Thailand’s monks run amok, but will junta’s crackdown answer its prayers?
24 Jun 2018 - 1:02PM
What the Thai army took from Thaksin Shinawatra’s playbook

The junta once criticised the exiled former prime minister’s appeals to Thailand’s rural voters as populism. Now, under pressure to hold elections, it’s turning to the same people – in an effort to be popular.

The junta once criticised the exiled former prime minister’s appeals to Thailand’s rural voters as populism. Now, under pressure to hold elections, it’s turning to the same people – in an effort to be popular.

What the Thai army took from Thaksin Shinawatra’s playbook
26 May 2018 - 10:04AM
Thailand says it is trying to protect migrant workers. So why are they all so worried?

A drive by the country’s junta to improve conditions for its migrant population sows fear – while activists say the new law does not go far enough.

A drive by the country’s junta to improve conditions for its migrant population sows fear – while activists say the new law does not go far enough.

Thailand says it is trying to protect migrant workers. So why are they all so worried?
18 Mar 2018 - 11:15AM
Palm oil is cheap, but it’s also an eco-disaster
22 Jan 2018 - 12:10PM
The world is running out of a resource, and it’s not oil

A looming shortage of sand could sink infrastructure projects, including those in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

A looming shortage of sand could sink infrastructure projects, including those in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The world is running out of a resource, and it’s not oil
3 Jul 2018 - 5:31PM
As Thailand cremates King Bhumibol, can it keep lid on tensions?
20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
Thailand chases Chinese money, but at what cost?

From environmental damage to technology transfer, the junta’s overdrive to tap Chinese investment raises a lot of questions as the men in uniform try to breathe life into a slackening economy in order to legitimise their rule.

From environmental damage to technology transfer, the junta’s overdrive to tap Chinese investment raises a lot of questions as the men in uniform try to breathe life into a slackening economy in order to legitimise their rule.

Thailand chases Chinese money, but at what cost?
24 Jan 2019 - 7:27PM
Tackling slavery in the Thai fishing industry, one victim at a time

The Thai government claims it is regulating the fishing industry more tightly, yet slavery persists. One man, duped into the trade and whose nightmare ended a few years ago, is determined to pursue justice for fellow victims

The Thai government claims it is regulating the fishing industry more tightly, yet slavery persists. One man, duped into the trade and whose nightmare ended a few years ago, is determined to pursue justice for fellow victims

Tackling slavery in the Thai fishing industry, one victim at a time
14 Jul 2017 - 12:41PM
Hope floats: Cambodia's ethnic Vietnamese forced to live on the water

Having almost no rights in their home country, Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese are forced to live on the water, in poor conditions and with few opportunities. However, writes Laura Villadiego, the latest Khmer Rouge trial has given rise to a little optimism. Pictures by Vincenzo Floramo.

Having almost no rights in their home country, Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese are forced to live on the water, in poor conditions and with few opportunities. However, writes Laura Villadiego, the latest Khmer Rouge trial has given rise to a little optimism. Pictures by Vincenzo Floramo.

Hope floats: Cambodia's ethnic Vietnamese forced to live on the water
3 May 2017 - 2:33PM