Flood-damaged roads are neglected as Vientiane prepares for a major regional summit next year.
Rights groups say without assurances, the talks could prove meaningless.
The move comes in response to heavy public criticism about the high costs and low quality of thoroughfare upgrades.
An exile rights group says seating Laos on 47-member panel would have been ‘most unfortunate’ in view of the country's record.
A leaked report by the environmental group WWF shows timber imports by China and Vietnam greatly exceed Lao exports.
They say regulations should not be bent for residents of Laos' largest trading partner.
They are telling Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand that building work on the Don Sahong dam will begin by year-end.
Rights groups see official concern over the open discussion of politically sensitive subjects.
Bounthanh Khammavong is serving a nearly five-year prison sentence in Laos for criticizing the government online.
A diplomatic source says Lao-born expat did not have access to legal assistance.
They want government leaders to seek a rate lower than three percent on the U.S. $500 million loan.
Hundreds of trucks in the southern provinces continue to illegally ship wood to Vietnam, a civil society official says.
Start of project is delayed by Lao political calendar, Chinese concerns about ability to service loans.
The Lao government is urged to account for the forced disappearance of Sombath Somphone.
New onerous requirements will slow funding and hinder the work of such groups, says one NGO official.
Neighbors concerned at damage to the vital Mekong River if dam goes ahead criticize Laos' unilateral move.
The move is part of a continued crackdown on Christians in the predominantly Buddhist country.