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Groups fight injustice against Lao women
Publication Date : 09-08-2013
Gender equality advocates in Laos have voiced their desire for more women to be involved in dispute resolution processes to ensure fairness to all involved parties.
The request came from representatives of government agencies and civil society organisations at a meeting held yesterday in Vientiane to discuss a UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) project aimed at improving justice for Lao women and establishing a law on violence against women.
A representative from the Asia Foundation told the meeting of a case in Laos in which a man who had been unfaithful in his marriage used violence against his wife after she insulted him.
She said the village mediation unit, which was made up of six men and one woman, decided the wife should have kept her temper.
“I want representatives from civil society organisations to participate in drafting the law,” she said.
The Ministry of Justice's Inspection Department Director General, Bounphone Heuangmany, who co-chaired the meeting, discussed another case in which a woman from a disadvantaged background came off worse in her divorce from her better educated husband.
Bounphone said the court had initially decided the majority of the couple's joint properties should be given to the wife, however the judgement changed at the last minute in favour of the husband.
The UN Women project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency at a cost of US$194,000, will be implemented over three years with a focus on enhancing capacity to create a law based on the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Various activities will be undertaken to boost knowledge and skills in the justice sector under the project.
Lao Women's Union Counselling and Protection Centre for Women and Children representative, Soudalak Phounsavath, recommended the project be expanded to include the dissemination of laws relevant to women and children across the country to ensure their protection.
UN Women for CEDAW representative, Sivongxay Changpitikoun, also co-chaired the meeting.