| Home|Acknowledgments |About Us |Contact Us |Resources |Jurisdiction Research |Research Summary |Terms of Use |

 

 

 

Lao People’s Democratic Republic[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

The Lao People's Democratic Republic ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child on June 7, 1991 with no reservations.  However, government authorities have not implemented the provisions of the Convention into domestic policies.  The Committee observed in its concluding observations to the only state party report submitted in 1997 that Lao's national legislation does not conform to the Convention.[2] Of particular concern was Lao's failure to take into account the general principles as contained in articles 3 (best interests of the child), and 12 (respect for the views of the child).[3]  The Committee encouraged the development of a social worker's system to address neglected and abused children in addition to the adoption of a specific code or legislation for children who need special protection in the justice system.[4]  Lao People's Democratic Republic stated that it would work on improving child representation legislation in cooperation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Children's Fund, but have yet to issue a state party report which was due in 1998.[5]

 

Child representation in court proceedings is not mandatory in Lao. No child protective proceedings currently exist and there is no legislation which talks about the child's right to be heard in child protective proceedings.  There is no official system for appointing court representatives.  In the Family Law of the Lao, tutors or guardians are appointed to care for children if the natural parents fail to provide care.  These guardians are appointed by village administrative authorities by a process of selection from close relatives of the child. If the chosen relative or individual refuses the guardianship, other individuals may be chosen as the administrators deem appropriate.  The appointed guardians are to care for children in legal proceedings, but no specific guidelines are set for the implementation of this provision. Lao Democratic People's Republic has the highest child mortality rate in the world[6], along with one of the highest poverty rates.  Due to these concerns, the rights of the child in court proceedings may not be a high priority.

 

Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

International Law

 

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child[7]

 

Article 12

 

(1) State parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

 

(2) For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Statutes

 

Family Law of the Lao Democratic People's Republic[8]

 

Article 33. Parents Obligated to Protect Children's Rights and Interests.

 

Parents have equal rights and obligations to protect their children's rights and interests. They are the legal representatives of their minor children, and have the obligation to protect their rights and interests in court, at the work place, at school and others.

 

Article 43. Duties of Guardians of Children and Incompetent Individuals.

 

Guardians of children or incompetent individuals have the duty to care for and educate them when their parents are deceased or have had their parental rights withdrawn or are ill or are in need of care for other reasons.

 

Such guardians also have the duty to protect the rights and interests of children or incompetent individuals.

 

Article 44. Nomination of Guardians for Children or Incompetent Individuals

 

The village head must appoint guardians for children or incompetent individuals from among their close relatives within one month after receipt of notice of an abandoned individual. If such close relatives do not accept the appointment to be guardians, other individuals may be chosen as guardians for the children or incompetent individuals.

 

The village head appointing the guardians has the duty to regularly monitor their activities.

 

It is forbidden to appoint minor persons, incompetent persons, persons who have had their parental rights withdrawn or persons with inappropriate behaviour as guardians.

 

Article 45. Rights and Obligations of Guardians for Children or Incompetent Individuals.

 

Guardians of children or incompetent individuals have the right to represent such individuals if they enter into contracts and in other activities.

                           

Such guardians have the obligation to provide [such individuals with] care, upbringing, health care and education, and to protect the rights and interests of such individuals.

 

Local contact information

 

Amy Delneuville
OIC Child Protection
UNICEF Vientiane
Telephone: 856-21-315200 (- 04)
Facsimile: 856-21-314852
E-mail:
adelneuville@unicef.org

 

Additional resources and links

 

Press Release, Save the Children (UK), International Labor Organization, Lao Children Join in Fight Against Human Trafficking, available at https://www. ilo.org. (last visited Oct. 14, 2005).[9]

 

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Lao People's Democratic Republic, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.78 (1997), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[3] Id.

[4] Initial reports of State parties due in 1993: Lao People's Democratic Republic, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.32. (State Party Report) (1996), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] Concluding Observations, supra note 1.

[6] Id.

[7] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

[8] Family Law of the Lao Democratic People's Republic, No, 07/90/SPA (1990), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] Press Release, Save the Children (UK), International Labor Organization, Lao Children Join in Fight Against Human Trafficking, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

Representing Children Worldwide | Copyright 2005 Yale Law School |All Rights Reserved