Govt steps up efforts to end violence against women

January 30, 2013

Policy makers have said the government should prioritise plans to end violence against women and girls after learning that efforts to address the issue have failed to yield satisfactory results.

More than 50 officials and experts from the ministries involved and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) met at a two-day seminar that ended yesterday in Thoulakhom district, Vientiane province.

Participants reviewed the legislation Laos has put in place to address the issue and made recommendations to improve the situation so that Laos meets international human rights standards.

The level of violence against women in Lao families remains high. In 2011, Laos was ranked 138th out of 187 countries in the human development index, according to a press release issued by the seminar.

This low ranking signifies that the level of violence against women remains high, an official attending the seminar told the Vientiane Times .

In addition, the Gender Inequality Index ranked Laos 107th out of 146 countries.

“In this connection, the Lao PDR should give priority to works to end violence against women and girls by adopting comprehensive measures and in particular laws relevant to prevent violence against women and gender violence,” the press release stated.

A report issued in 2009 on the current situation in Laos concerning implementation of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to which Laos is a state party, also raised concerns over the level of violence against women and girls.

In response to this evaluation, the Lao Ministry of Justice and CIDA jointly organised the seminar to discuss measures that should be formulated to address the issue.

“This seminar is one of the initiatives taken towards amending the law on the prevention of violence against women,” the press release said, adding that the amendment aimed to make the law more comprehensive and relevant to the current situation in Laos.

A recent survey disclosed last week by the Lao Women’s Union revealed that the violence inflicted on women and children is often the result of excessive alcohol consumption.

Many women in Laos suffer from domestic violence as a result of men drinking too much alcohol and becoming violent towards their partners.

The survey covered the three districts of Chanthabouly, Sisattanak and Xaythany in Vientiane, and questioned males aged 15-49. Drunkenness among men is one of the underlying causes of family problems, which include violence against women and children, and forcing women to have sex, the survey found. It also points to the fact that men’s excessive alcohol consumption could increase further, because younger men tend to follow the example of their friends and also take to the bottle.

Laos has no law banning children under 18 from buying alcohol as is common in many other countries.


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