UN outlines key recommendations to amend the the Law on Marriage and Family

25 Nov 2013

image Photo by Colorista

Ha Noi – “Amending the Law on Marriage and Family from a Human Rights-Based Perspective” topped the agenda of the 2nd Legal Policy Dialogue in 2013 held today by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Part of “Strengthening Access to Justice and Protection of Rights in Viet Nam” project
Deputy Minister of Justice Dr. Hoang The Lien and UNDP Country Director in Viet Nam Ms. Louise Chamberlain co-chaired the Dialogue, part of the “Strengthening Access to Justice and Protection of Rights in Viet Nam” project, in the company of Ms. Nguyen Thuy Anh, Deputy Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs.

Human rights-based perspective
At the Dialogue, the Ministry of Justice provided an overall assessment of draft amendments to the Law on Marriage and Family 2000 from a human rights-based perspective, with the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs spotlighting gender mainstreaming and gender equality components to the amendments, while the Institute for Social Development Studies examined the proposed law changes from a non-governmental organization perspective.

The United Nations, together with Vietnamese legal experts, also outlined key recommendations for amendments to the Law on Marriage and Family from a human rights-based perspective.

At the Dialogue, Ms. Louise Chamberlain tabled several issues from a human rights-based perspective for debate: "Because of the prevailing gendered division of labour in the home - with women traditionally sharing a significantly larger burden of unpaid household work, caring for children and the elderly than male members of the family - they are in a more vulnerable positions, especially upon separation and divorce because their unpaid work is not accounted for." she said. "Other non-traditional family concerns such as sexual orientation and gender identity also need to be addressed as part of this law, same sex couples, transgender and intersex people are also forming families and have children. Many times fighting stigma and discrimination and societal norms here, the law can help protect and recognize their human right, like everybody else’s, and take a clear stance against the prejudice and discrimination that many face in everyday life and a positive position on their equal rights.”

The Law on Marriage and Family 2000 will be revised or supplemented with the following substantive inputs: 

  • Basic principles of what constitutes marital status and family in Viet Nam
  • Customary in marriage and family
  • Marriage (permitted age for marriage, living as husband and wife without marriage registration,same sex couples living together as husband and wife, etc.)
  • Respective personal rights of a husband and wife, representative for each other between husband and wife,defintions of common and private assets of a husband and wife
  • Rights and obligations between parents and children and between other family members
  • Identification of birth parents and children,surrogacy for humantarian purposes
  • Divorce and separation
  • Marital and familial relationships between Vietnamese people and other nationalities.

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