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Officials discuss access to justice in Laos

Vientiane Times,  August 28, 2015.

Experts from the legal sector in Laos met with their counterparts from Vietnam, China and Singapore yesterday in Vientiane to discuss the improvement of services and access to justice in Laos. The improvement of access to justice by the Lao people forms part of a project for the implementation of the legal sector master plan (SPLSMP).

Minister of Justice, Mr Bounkeut Sangsomsack, speaking at the seminar on the state of law and social justice yesterday said that Lao experts in the legal sector do not have enough knowledge and capacity to provide justice services to the people as yet. Meanwhile, local people also do not have enough understanding about how to access the legal and judicial avenues which are open to them. So, in this regard, Laos needs to prioritise human resource development in the legal sector, Mr Bounkeut said.

“They need to develop their know-how and capacity as well as their ethics,” he observed. Meanwhile there also needs to be a focus on strengthening the capacity of institutions along with those of the officials working in the legal sector. The seminar aimed at improving access to legal information for government officials and citizens, strengthening their capacities to improve legal drafting work, law implementation and enforcement, as well as legal education. It also focused on the dissemination of laws and enhancement of legal awareness of the people, Mr Bounkeut said. He believed the seminar would play an important role in the justice sector with experts from the legal sector from Vietnam, China and Singapore contributing their expertise and conducting research into access to justice in Laos.

“Several years ago, the Ministry of Justice assigned the People’s Supreme Court and the Supreme People’s Prosecutor Office to provide information about justice to the people and create our country are a state governed by the rule of law and one in which there is social justice,” Mr Bounkeut said.

“At the same time, there are many local people who don’t have any understanding of the law or the justice system so they don’t have access to that.”

UNDP resident representative, Ms Kaarina Immonen said that at its heart, the seminar aimed at ensuring better access to justice among the Lao people in the years ahead.

“The SPLSMP is designed to provide better safeguards for the full realisation of people’s rights and obligations as well as their enhanced access to the legal sector,” she observed.

 

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