The justice sector of Lao PDR takes a significant step towards strengthening the prevention and response to gender-based violence

August 4, 2023

Vientiane Capital, 4 August 2023 – The Lao Women’s Union (LWU) and the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, and Mother-Children (NCAWMC) have launched the first-ever Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the justice sector response to violence against women and children (VAWC) in Lao PDR. The SOP is one of the commitments of the National Plan of Action on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Women (NAPEVAW) 2021-2025.   


Developed under the leadership of LWU and NCAWMC, this SOP is the product of extensive collaboration between the four justice agencies who will also be responsible for its implementation, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Ministry of Public Security (MOPS), the Office of the Supreme People’s Prosecutor (OSPP), and the People’s Supreme Court (PSC). Thanks to funding from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was able to support the initiative through its Khan Hom project with LWU. The launch was chaired by H.E Mme. Inlavanh Keobounphan, President of the LWU and Vice Standing Chairperson of the NCAMWC, and co-chaired by H.E. Bounkhouang Thavisack, Vice President of the PSC, Member of the NCAWMC. 


H.E. Mme Keobounphan highlighted, “Lao PDR is committed to implement its obligation under the international conventions in protecting women and children. Most importantly, under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It is a priority to ensure that women and children can access quality justice services.” She added, “In practice, there are challenges and limitations in responding and referring victims of VAWC to find support. Therefore, this SOP was developed as an effective guidance in providing consistent and coordinated justice process.” 


The SOP is a crucial instrument to guide Lao PDR’s criminal justice response to violence against women and girls and ensure that victims receive support, protection, and justice.  


On behalf of UNDP, Mrs. Martine Thérer, Resident Representative of UNDP Lao PDR remarked, “In Lao PDR, just 2% of women who experience violence appeal to legal authorities, although more than a third of women experience one type of violence in their lifetime.” She further added, “Not only do the social and cultural norms discourage women from seeking help, but they must navigate the complex justice system, and that takes immense courage.” 


The SOP for the justice sector will be implemented in a pilot phase at the national level and then will cascade down to the community level. Training on how to use the SOPs will be integrated into the curricula of existing national training institutions in order to build the capacity of justice service providers who deal with gender-based violence (GBV) cases. 


H.E Bounkhouang Thavisack expressed, “I believe that this SOP is very beneficial to the victims of violence accessing to the justice services that serve effectively to their needs.” He further called, “This SOP is just a primary initiative. In the following steps, we need to develop a training curriculum together with improving the efficient system and mechanism of this work such as strengthening the capacity of judges, prosecutors, police, lawyer, and village mediation committees including establishing an effective grievance mechanism.” 


“VAW is a serious but preventable problem. The justice sector is essential for tackling VAW issues and creating gender equality, particularly in enhancing women’s rights, roles, and opportunities in society for a better life.” Ms. Myungjin KIM, Country Director of KOICA to Lao PDR emphasized, “This Justice SOP will be an innovative intervention to implement by justice providers in mitigating both short- and long-term effects of GBV against women, girls and children in Lao PDR.” 



The Standard Operating Procedures for the Justice Sector Response to Violence against Women and Children in Lao PDR is now available online here. 




Contact information: 

Ms. Aksonethip Somvorachit 

Communication Analyst, UNDP 

+856 20 5502 1550 


Ms. Sinsavanh Sonepaseuth 

Communications and outreach officer, UNDP 

+856 20 9729 8848 

Lane Xang Avenue, P.O. Box 345 

Vientiane, Lao PDR