This was the message at a consultation workshop with development partners in Vientiane on Tuesday to discuss Laos’ adhereance to child rights conventions.
The workshop was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone, who also is President of the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC) and Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office and Vice President of the NCAWMC, Mr Alounkeo Khittikhoun.
Dr Sonexay said Laos remains committed to the realisation of the rights of the child and has conducted a series of activities over the past three months to disseminate and implement the concluding observations. This includes the timely reporting of the concluding observations by the NCAWMC to government leaders and national assembly as well as central and provincial level workshops to prioritise their implementation efforts.
Mr Alounkeo explained the government will raise public awareness about the protection of the rights and interests of children through campaigns and issue a code of conduct for businesses, focusing on the tourism sector, to engage them in the protection of child rights and prevent child abuse, trafficking and prostitution.
In addition, UNICEF representative Dr Octavian Bival referred to the concluding observations related to concerns such as child protection data collection, violence against children, children without parental care, children with disabilities, harmful practices, child marriage, justice for children, special protection measures, birth registration and adoption, and highlighted the capacity development support that UNICEF is providing to the NCAWMC’s work.
UNICEF and Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare had started an initiative to strengthen the child protection system and social welfare workforce development in Laos with the vision and action plan to feed into national socioeconomic development plans, he added.
The CRC implementation plan presented puts special emphasis on improving existing child protection systems to integrate them effectively and establishes a mechanism for monitoring and reporting on child labour migration in cities and remotes areas. It also addresses the issue of violence in schools, especially corporal punishment and the need to promote online safety.
The CEDAW implementation plan focuses on strengthening normative, legal and policy frameworks, as well as women’s leadership and full and equal participation in decision making, especially for rural women, along with girls’ empowerment to access education.