Key Achievements of the CEDAW SEAP Phase II Programme in Lao-PDR

The main contribution of the project in Lao PDR was the establishment of a government-wide approach to the implementation, monitoring and reporting on CEDAW/COBs at the national and subnational levels through the SubCAWs.

As of 2014, the government announced stronger protection measures for violence against women and children including passing a new Law on Combatting Violence against Women and Children in December 2014.

The government started preparing for a CEDAW state report in 2014 and the work is on-going.; other key achievements  includes – ssystem-wide commitment and capacity for implementation, monitoring and reporting on CEDAW; combating Violence against Women and promoting due diligence standards to legislative approaches and mainstreaming gender-aspects to policy making and development planning , particularly on the national strategic plan.

Key Achievements per Outcome (CEDAW Prodoc Outcomes)

Outcome 1: Increased knowledge and skills to apply CEDAW compliance in the development and monitoring of new and revised legislative frameworks.

The main focus of the CEDAW SEAP II in Lao PDR is to institutionalize commitments and capacities that would strengthen CEDAW/gender-sensitive in planning, policy and law making, and service delivery, including access to justice, particularly of the most marginalized women.

From the beginning of the project till March 2015, the most significant achievements of the programme are as follows:

  • The Law on Prevention and Combat Violence against women and Children reinforcing the principle of gender equality and women’s human rights adopted
  • GBV Legislation – applying due diligence standards to legislative approaches on VAW Law on the Protection and Development of Women, 2004 revisited – focus to address domestic violence and trafficking to combat GBV
  • Strengthened understanding of harmful practices  gender response policy making and violence against women and in dealing with women victim/survivors of violence  through series of capacity building/workshops  which happened parallel to the process of law drafting
  • Increased understanding of actors in Lao plural justice systems and ways that promotes/improves women’s access to justice
  • Strengthened Caucus of Women Parliamentarians who were able to argue for progressive clauses in the domestic violence law.

The above achievements indicate that the project’s investments in training and capacity building of advocates have started to yield results. Meanwhile, the results in CEDAW SEAP II’s three Immediate Outcomes indicate increase in skills and understanding.

Outcome 2: Increased awareness among formal and informal justice system actors of CEDAW commitments.

Over 80% of judicial actors responded that they have acquired knowledge and skills in applying international human rights law to gender-related issues at the domestic level and an increased their awareness and understanding of CEDAW commitments. key participants from judicial institutions, district governors, police , Lao youth Union, Sub Commission for Advancement of women, LWU and Village Mediation units

The MOJ has strengthened its understanding on CEDAW principles and was able to after a very consultative process finale the law of violence, the decree on village mediation.

Outcome 3: Strengthened monitoring and accountability mechanisms for implementation of CEDAW commitments.

In Laos, given the limited civil society space, UN Women has actively supported dialogues between the government and CSOs to discuss CEDAW implementation, access to justice and issues of violence against women. UN Women continued to equip new civil society advocates with the ability to understand and engage on issued related to gender justice, feminist legal practice, ASEAN and human rights. This is being done with the view of strengthening their monitoring role for CEDAW implementation.

CEDAW General Recommendations were also translated into Lao local language and published booklets, folders and posters on access to justice and VAW. These were shared with national stakeholders. These materials are useful for members of the national drafting team on the GBV law-making processes , by Lao NCAW, LWU and CSOs in monitoring compliance of national initiatives with CEDAW and the GRs.