2 Example - Lao Presentation - Prof Sam Blay - Sept 2010

Human Rights Approach in Lao PDR:
Opportunities and Challenges for the UN
System at Country Level to Strengthen and use
Lao HR systems
Human Rights-based Approach and Resultsbased Management Workshop
Novotel, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 21-22
September, 2010
Introduction: National Human Rights Protection
System (NHRPS)
– The national policies and institutions that promote and
protect human rights.
– The total human rights infrastructure:
• all of the checks and balances needed to ensure that state
institutions are accountable and fulfill their duty to respect,
protect and uphold human rights
• 2 essential elements of the NHRPS
– international human rights standards must be fully
incorporated and reflected in national laws and policies
– National institutions and civil society should have the
means, capacity and backing to implement and or oversee
these laws and policies
•Law enforcement agencies
•Administrative agencies
Domestic law
rights Defenders
•Integration of international
•Subject specific laws
protecting human rights
•Human rights education and
and awareness programs
•National action plans
•Rights based approach in
national programs and policies
•Access and ability to
contribute freely to the
promotion and protection of
The Lao PDR Country Context:
International HR Instruments
• The Lao PDR is a party to six core human rights conventions
and two optional protocols:
– International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),
– International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
– International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (ICERD),
– Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW),
– Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),
– Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
• Optional Protocol regarding the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and
Child Pornography,
• Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.
Lao PDR Country Context: The NHRPS
The Constitution
National institutions
Law enforcement agencies
Specific laws and decrees
Policy machinery
The Judiciary
The National Assembly
National Human Rights Centre
Lao Bar Association
Lao Front for National Construction
The State Inspection Authority
Central and Provincial authorities
– Decree on Associations
– The Law on complaints
– The Law on media
The Challenges: Causality linkages
• The constraints of geography:
– The major part of country’s territory is mountainous and yet to be
developed. Access is limited
• The legacy of war
– The adverse effects of the destructive wars and armed conflicts,
especially of UXO and other war remnants, constitute the major
obstacle to the improvement of the living conditions of the people in
remote rural areas
• Poor educational background of state officials
– persistent lack of understanding
• Entrenched cultural beliefs
– impact on health
• Limited role for civil society
– the Decree on Associations is little known and hardly encourages the
formation and active engagement with civil society
The Challenges: Causality Linkages
• Lack of a Rule of Law culture
– Lao PDR is a society in transition
• Access to basic information on laws
– Members of the public and state officials are sometimes not aware of
laws the related to human rights
• Human resources constraints
– limited capacity in almost all areas of state activity
• The Issue of ‘sensitive rights’: basic freedoms eg:
– Freedom of speech
– Freedom of association
• The issue of minority rights
– the definition of minority remain a controversial point with implication
for minority rights protection
• Reporting compliance
– Capacity issues undermines the complaince
The Opportunities and Potential Points
of Intervention
• An emerging culture of openness
– This allows for open and healthy discussions and debates on human
rights issues and a greater willingness to consider human rights questions
• The acceptance of UPR Recommendations
– This creates a legitimate basis for positive advocacy
• A declared open commitment to the establishment of a Rule of State by 2020
– this further enhances legitimate expectations of the UN agencies and
Development Partners
• The ratification of the ICCPR
– This serves as an important point of reference and creates and
appropriate basis for assistance to the Lao PDR to align its laws with
ICCPR principles and rules.
The Challenge to UNCT: ‘Delivering as
• There is an increasing need to identify areas of
synergies for coordination and concerted action
• Example: Human trafficking:
Poverty Reduction Unit
UXO unit