Lao National Assembly to Revise Law on Children’s Rights and Interests

Children at a Lao school. Photo Credit: UNICEF Laos.

The Minister of Justice, Phayvy Sibualipha, presented a revised law on the protection of children’s rights and interests during the 5th Ordinary Session of the 9th National Assembly last Friday.

Mr. Phayvy said that the old version of the Law on the Protection of Children’s Rights and Interests, which was issued in 2006, is not up-to-date with present times.

He pointed out that the old law is unclear regarding the creation and disbursement of funds for child welfare and registration of abandoned children among other issues, which has made it challenging to implement.

According to Pasaxon, the revised draft law addresses these issues by defining child rights in more detail and establishing a more comprehensive system for collecting and reporting data regarding protecting children’s rights.

The new draft law will also look at better creation and management of funds, the execution of key responsibilities, and the establishment of coordination mechanisms to protect children’s rights and interests.

The revised law includes 13 sections and 82 articles, compared to the current law’s 8 sections and 93 articles. Of the 82 articles in the draft law, 2 have been revised, 5 have been added, 2 have been retained, and 44 have been removed.

After it was presented, many NA members from various constituencies provided comments on the draft law to ensure that it is complete and effective.

Mr. Sisouthone S. Phabmixay, a Phongsaly constituent, suggested that the draft be expanded to protect the rights of Lao children abroad and that although parents are responsible for naming their child, a clause should be added to ensure that the name is respectful and honorable.

Mr. Nouphanh Oudsa, a Bolikhamxay Constituent, also requested to include a requirement to expand preschool education facilities for children across the country.

Furthermore, NA members advocated for categorizing children based on their age, health, and family situation, making it easier for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to seek and receive assistance from government agencies.

The draft law is a significant step forward in the protection of children’s rights in Laos, and the National Assembly is in the process of deciding its implementation.