A number of programmes and policies in Laos are promoting the internal resettlement of mostly indigenous ethnic minorities from remote highlands to lowland areas and along roads. Various justifications are given for this internal resettlement: eradication of opium cultivation, security concerns, access and service delivery, cultural integration and nation building, and the reduction of swidden agriculture. There is compelling evidence that it is having a devastating impact on local livelihoods and cultures, and that international aid agencies are playing important but varied and sometimes conflicting roles with regard to internal resettlement in Laos. While some international aid agencies claim that they are willing to support internal resettlement if it is ‘voluntary’, it is not easy to separate voluntary from involuntary resettlement in the Lao context. Both state and non-state players often find it convenient to discursively frame non-villager initiated resettlement as ‘voluntary’.