Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Photo: WFP Lao PDR/Tiziana Zoccheddu

Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

While Lao PDR has made steady progress towards establishing rule of law, significant challenges remain. These include insufficiencies in the number and capacity of judicial professionals in the country, the weak implementation and enforcement of laws, and the need to harmonize domestic legislation with a number of international legal obligations. There is also the need to improve women’s and men’s access to justice, stakeholders’ participation in decision-making processes and the reporting to international human rights bodies.

The country has made significant advances in certain areas of governance. These include strengthening public administration capacity, decentralizing delivery of local services, improving accountability with a greater share of responsibility being taken by the National Assembly, enlarging the space for stakeholders (with a larger number of contributing civil society organizations compared to that in the previous five-year period), clearer goals, and a focus on improving the justice sector in the country.

Pragmatic laws are vital for unambiguous application and implementation. An assessment of law-making conducted by the Ministry of Justice in 2014 found no draft law that strictly complied with the requirements set out under the 2012 Law on Laws, which includes broad participatory consultations, explanatory notes and impact assessment reports. The recently developed law-making manual is expected to provide technical support to law drafters in order to comply with these requirements. 

Lao PDR has publicly committed to tackling corruption. The Government recognizes the importance of preventing and combating corruption. In its statement at the Universal Periodic Review, the Lao PDR delegation emphasized the implementation of the Law on Anti-Corruption, other related laws and legal instruments, particularly the decree on the declaration of assets for government officials at all levels. In a ranking conducted by the INGO Transparency International, Lao PDR ranked in the bottom fifth of the Corruption Perception Index (145 out of 175 countries and territories) in 2014. In terms of actual score, Lao PDR was marked 25, on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Lao PDR has acceded to or ratified seven out of ten key international human rights instruments. The country continues to incorporate these obligations into its national laws, policies and programmes. However, enforcement and implementation lag behind, and most reports to treaty bodies are overdue. In 2015, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review  made 196 recommendations to address these gaps, of which the Government of the Lao PDR has accepted 116. 

With significant expansion of investment in land throughout the country, the impacts of land investment are being scrutinized much more than before. Large-scale land investment in Lao PDR has brought significant transformations in national landscapes, which have in turn, engendered drastic socioeconomic and environmental changes and affected food security and traditional livelihoods.66 The Government has accepted the recommendation made during the 2015 Universal Periodic Review on providing full, adequate and effective compensation for land expropriations and on recognizing and protecting customary land rights. It also agreed to step up enforcement of its 2012 moratorium on new mining investments and on the granting of concessions for rubber plantations, and review new and existing land concessions, with a view to cancelling or sanctioning those found to be violating the law.

Promoting peace and justice is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 16.

Our stories

Man listening to radio
Community radio in Laos

UNDP Lao PDR's Community radio programme's aim is to give voice to Laos’ most marginalised groups, women and ethnic minorities by spreading community-driven media across the whole of the country. more 

Revealign sign to new Information Kiosk at the Provincial Court in Phonsavanh
Enhanced access to legal information for Lao citizens

With the opening of an Information Kiosk at the Provincial Court in the Lao province of Xiengkhouang and a fully functional Legal Aid Center at the Department of Justice in the province’s capital Phonsavanh, citizens now have more access to information regarding their rights, laws and court cases.more 

Experts from civil society, government and development partners at the human rights panel discussion.
International, regional and national human rights mechanisms discussed

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Support Project for Implementation of the Legal Sector Master Plan organised a two-day seminar to raise awareness of international and regional human rights systems and also to share good practices from other countries on national human rights mechanisms.more 

Hor Kong villagers head to local market
Local governance paves way for poverty reduction

New roads allow rural residents to access commercial markets, but also to travel to the numerous ‘One Door’ government service centres, which issue business licenses, land titles, birth and marriage certificates and vehicle registration. more 

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