Legal sector capacity and access to justice to be improved
Vientiane, 31st January 2014 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its partners including the European Union, France and the United States will assist Lao PDR on its journey of becoming a rule of law -state with a comprehensive support programme to the legal sector.
The new US$3.9 million –programme was launched today in Vientiane in an event co-chaired by H.E. Prof. Dr. Chaleune Yiapaoheu, Minister of Justice and Mr. Minh Pham, Resident Representative, UNDP. The event was attended by Mr. Michel Goffin, Chargé d’Affaires, EU Delegation to Laos, H.E. Mr. Yves Carmona, Ambassador of France, and H.E. Mr. Dan Clune, US Ambassador, amongst other dignitaries,
The new programme aims to improve people’s access to law and justice institutions and encourage the creation of more clear, consistent and responsive laws and regulations. The three-year project will be implemented by various Ministries with technical and financial support from the United Nations Development Programme, the European Union, France and the United States.
H.E. Prof. Dr. Chaleune Yiapaoheu started his opening remarks by thanking UNDP, EU, France, and USA for their generous support. While highlighting the adoption of many laws and regulations in recent years, he also reiterated the Government’s commitment to building a state based on rule of law, stating that it is “an important task under the Resolution of the IX Party congress”.
The new programme is designed to provide support for the implementation of the Legal Sector Master Plan, the country’s first legal reform officially adopted in 2009, by improving the capacity of the judicial institutions. This will include establishing a new training institute for legal professionals, improving the law making processes by developing legal instruments such as manuals and dictionaries.
Another key component of the support programme is to introduce legal aid clinics and a justice fund for the general public in order to improve their understanding of their legal rights.
“Enhancing access to justice for the public is at the heart of this project”, said Mr. Minh Pham of UNDP. He welcomed an increased participation of the civil society into the international law and human rights-related decision-making process, and called the new project a “milestone in our journey of achieving better access to justice to all in Laos”.
The project will also support the country’s ongoing integration into international communities through further adaptation of and compliance with international treaties.
Two of the project donors, the European Union and the United States, confirmed their contributions at today’s event: The US will contribute US$350,000 while US$2.4 million will be provided by the European Union. These funds come in addition to US$ 600,000 from UNDP and US$548,000 already committed by France.
"Universal access to the rule of law and justice is a fundamental right for all citizens and a priority we wish to achieve in Laos," said EU Chargé d'Affaires Michel Goffin.
The support programme will run until 2016 and will be implemented by the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Public Security as well as the Office of the Supreme Public Prosecutor and the People’s Supreme Court.
Ms. Phimpaphay Thammavongsa, UNDP Programme Associate, Tel: 021-267-749
Mr. Aroune Naruphay, LSMP Project Coordinator, Tel: 021-416-443/020-5563-9810