Amended Law Marks Breakthrough for Stronger Protection of Children’s Rights in Lao PDR

05 December 2023
Group photo at press conference on the promulgation of the amended Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interest of the Child held at Landmark Hotel.
UNICEF Laos/2023/GYim

Vientiane Capital, 5 Dec 2023 – The President of Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, signed the Decree on the Promulgation of the amended Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children on Aug 30, 2023, which will be effective on Dec 4, 2023, marking a major milestone for child rights in the country.

With UNICEF’s support, the 2006 Law was reviewed and amended to better reflect key principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ranging from considerations of the child's best interest in decision-making to their right to non-discrimination, protection and participation in all matters affecting their lives.

The amended law stipulates the exemption of the birth registration fee (article 15) and prohibitions for parents, guardians, civil servants, related officials and other persons for physical abuse by corporal punishment, beating, and other tortures and scolding children (article 56 to 58).

“The amendment of the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children is one of the concrete actions taken by the Government of Lao PDR to implement the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s concluding observations in 2018 and the National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening (2022 – 2026),” explained H.E. Mr. Kongchi YANGCHUE, Vice Minister of Justice. “The amended law further represents the government's priority in strengthening the child protection systems and developing the social service workforce while enhancing the accountability of law enforcement,” H.E. Mr. Kongchi added.

Under the amended law, the roles and responsibilities of relevant Ministries and agencies are also clearly defined: the Deputy Prime Minister will chair the Committee for the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children, replacing the current Child Protection and Assistance Committee chaired by the Vice Minister of Labor and Social Welfare. Furthermore, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will be tasked with leading the development of a data and information management system as well as mobilizing and managing the funds for the protection of the rights and interests of children.  

The amendment of this law has also come from the opinions and recommendations obtained from different groups of children who participated in the group discussion and interviews from 6 provinces and Vientiane Capital City.

“The amended law marks a significant breakthrough for child rights in Lao PDR and for that we applaud the Government of Lao PDR’s efforts. UNICEF takes this opportunity to express our continued commitment to supporting Lao PDR in creating a policy environment that ensures every child is protected from harm,” stated Ms. Maryam Abdu, Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF Lao PDR.

The Ministry of Justice will put the amended law in the Government Gazette and will disseminate the amended law widely to raise awareness of the amended law and ensure its implementation.

The amendment of the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children was made through support from UNICEF Australia and the Government of Australia.

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