Ministry of Justice and UNICEF Begin Work on Amending the Law on Protection of the Rights
The 16-year-old law will be amended to better protect and respond to the needs of children in Lao PDR today
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of Lao PDR, with support from UNICEF, has conducted a week-long consultation to review the implementation of the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children and to discuss its amendment.
The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Kongchi Yangchue, Vice Minister of Justice, Head of the Steering Committee overseeing the Law’s revision and amendment, and Ms. Yali Zhang, Chief of Child Protection from UNICEF. Representatives from line ministries, relevant sectors and civil society also participated in the meeting.
“With support from UNICEF, the Government of Lao PDR promulgated the first-ever national Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children in 2006. However, this 16-year-old Law should be reviewed and amended to ensure it addresses to the protection challenges that children face today,” said H.E. Mr. Kongchi Yangchue.
He further highlighted that the protection of vulnerable children remains the Government’s top priority, especially against violence, online abuse and trafficking among others.
Ms. Yali Zhang also reiterated that corporal punishment should be prohibited in all settings, from homes to institutions. “Strengthening the response to and prevention of all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation of children, as well as the coordination in the enhancement of law enforcement, is essential,” she explained.
To ensure the inclusion of all sectors of society in the review of the Law, UNICEF supported the Lao PDR Ministry of Justice to carry out a series of consultations with young people – including students, children with disabilities, children from minority ethnic groups and abandoned children – from Bolikhamxay, Champasak, Luangprabang, Savannakhet, Xayaboury, Vientiane Province and Vientiane Capital.
Consultative meetings were also held with local authorities, government representatives, community members, parents, and representatives from mass organizations.
The amendment of the Law on 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 (CRC) concluding observations in 2018. The government is set to report on the implementation of the CRC in June 2023.
The Law’s amendment was supported by funding from UNICEF Australia and the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).