France supports Lao PDR’s efforts to develop a rule of law state
Vientiane, 25th June 2013 – The Government of France today signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide €410,000 (US$548,000) towards the upcoming Support Programme for Implementation of the Legal Sector Master Plan (LSMP) in Lao PDR.
The Programme aims to support Lao PDR’s goal to create a state based on the rule of law by 2020, and to support the implementation of legal reforms designed to promote and protect people’s rights and enhance their access to justice in Lao PDR.
The grant agreement was signed today by His Excellency Yves Carmona, Ambassador of France and Mr. Minh Pham, UNDP Resident Representative at a ceremony in Lao Plaza hotel. The event was attended by H.E. Ket Kiettisack, Vice Minister of Justice, H.E Soumboun Sonthigoummarn, Vice President of the People’s Supreme Court as well as other senior Government officials and development partners.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Minh Pham expressed his gratitude to France for joining UNDP in supporting the legal sector reform of Lao PDR. “Their contribution comes at a critical time, as the country’s goal of establishing a rule of law state by 2020 also coincides with the goal of graduating from the least developed country status. The programme address crucial needs in strengthening institutional and human resource capacities to protect and advocate for people’s rights in Lao PDR.”
H.E. Yves Carmona said that this contribution is part of a larger French support to Legal Sector Master Plan, signed by H.E. Thoungloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and H.E. Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs during the presidential meeting in November last year. “The Programme is crucial because rule of law is not only a development goal but also a condition and an enabling environment for an inclusive development”, he added.
H.E. Prof. Ket Kiettisack said “UNDP is a long-standing and trusted partner for us. We welcome France’s contribution and are confident that this collaboration will go a long way in overall legal environment in Laos”.
The Support Programme for Implementation of the Legal Sector Master Plan, to be launched in the third quarter of 2013, is the first comprehensive legal programme in the country and will be implemented by Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, Office of the Supreme Public Prosecutor and People’s Supreme Court. The Programme attempts to provide stronger safeguards for, and exercise of the rights of all citizens, improve people’s access to law and justice institutions, and encourage the creation of more clear, consistent, and responsive laws and regulations.
“I expect that today’s signing ceremony will signal even more increased coordination among all key stakeholders, including civil society organizations”, Mr. Pham said.
The grant from France is expected to contribute particularly towards the establishment of a national judicial training institute, capacity development of Lao Bar Association and lawyers, and coordination capacity development of the Legal Sector Master Plan Secretariat.
The Legal Sector Master Plan was officially adopted by the Government in September 2009. It assesses the current needs of the legal system and provides a series of guiding principles for developing a rule of law state and action plan to achieve this goal.
France has been an important partner to the Lao Government in strengthening the legal sector, and has committed a total of US$1.8 million for 2013-2015.
Ms. Oraxone Vissapra – Tel: 021 267 729