Lao PDR on Historic Ban of Corporal Punishment

30 April 2024
A girl stand next to a doorway.
UNICEF Lao PDR/2015/AVitikainen

Vientiane Capital, 30 April 2024 – The Ministry of Justice today celebrated the historic ban on corporal punishment across Lao PDR at an event on International Day to End Corporal Punishment of Children. The ban makes Lao PDR the 66th state worldwide and the first in ASEAN to fully protect children from all forms of violent punishment.

Lao PDR has curbed violence against children through enhanced coordination and preventive and responsive measures in homes, schools, online spaces, and communities. The 2023 Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS III) highlights a decrease in violent discipline, with the percentage of children aged 1-14 experiencing physical punishment dropping from 77% to 62%.

Additionally, the amended Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children, supported by UNICEF, was enacted in August 2023 and implemented in December, underscoring Lao PDR's commitment to align with the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action for the Elimination of Violence Against Children 2016-2025.

“This amendment is a direct response to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s observations and our commitment to strengthening child protection systems in Lao PDR," stated H.E. Mr. Kongchi Yangchue, Vice Minister of Justice and the Head of the Committee to Revise the Law on the Protection of Children's Rights and Interests. "It is a clear signal of our dedication to improve law enforcement and protect the rights of every child."

Launched in 2014, UNICEF’s global #ENDviolence against children campaign highlighted effective strategies and evidence-based success in preventing and responding to violence at the national level. The recent law reform, a culmination of a two-year review process initiated in 2022, involved comprehensive consultations with children and youth across six provinces and Vientiane. This process, coordinated with multiple Ministries and stakeholders, underscores the Lao Government's dedication to embedding children's rights within its legislative framework.

"The Government of the Lao PDR gives priority to child protection by assigning the Ministry of Justice to revise and amend the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children to ensure that Lao children are protected, especially protection children from all forms of violence," continued H.E. Mr. Kongchi Yangchue.

The prohibition of corporal punishment is part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at bolstering child protection and addressing violence against children in all environments, including homes, schools, and online spaces. This initiative is in line with the Government’s Second Five-year National Plan of Action for Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Children (2021 – 2025), which concentrates on enhancing systems and capacities for preventing and responding to violence.

Mr Arturo Romboli, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Lao PDR, applauded the amendment, stating, "We commend the Government of Lao PDR for its efforts in advancing child rights with this significant legislation. This law marks a major step forward in creating a safe environment where every child is shielded from harm. We congratulate Lao PDR for being a model to ASEAN member states and remain dedicated to supporting the Government and its partners in safeguarding all children from violence in all environments."

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.

Press conference on the historic ban of corporal punishment in Lao PDR.
UNICEF Lao PDR/2024/KPhiennachit
Press conference on the historic ban of corporal punishment in Lao PDR.

Media contacts

Mr. Chomkham Bouphalivan, Ph.D.
Director General
Department of Management and Promotion of Justice Affairs
Tel: +856 2099801561
Simon Nazer
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Lao PDR
Tel: +856 2055519681

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. 

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook