SRSG Santos Pais promotes protection of children from violence in first visit to Lao PDR

Vientiane, 23 October 2014 – During her visit to Lao PDR, SRSG Santos Pais met with H. E. Pany Yathotou, President of the National Assembly, to discuss the important work taking place on the development of a new Law on Violence against Women and Children in Lao PDR.

 “In recent years, Lao PDR has made tremendous strides in tackling violence against children,” said SRSG Santos Pais. “But, like all over the world, much more can and should be done. The fact that so many Government parties are sitting together today is a signal that Lao PDR is committed to ending violence against children. As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this year, we are reminded that all partners have a role in protecting the rights of children everywhere.”

During her visit, SRSG Santos Pais took part in a roundtable discussion on the new Law on Violence against Women and Children with members of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Justice, the National Commission for Mothers and Children and other related Government parties.

“We really appreciate the Government’s commitment and actions for adopting and implementing the new law, which for the first time focuses on all forms of violence against women and children in all settings. We look forward to working with the Lao Government and its partners to ensure a strong implementation of this law,” said Ms. Hongwei Gao, Representative to UNICEF Lao PDR.

According to UNICEF, violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported. The recent Lao Social Indicator Survey revealed that 76 per cent of 2 to 14-year-olds have experienced physical or emotional violence from an adult in their homes.

The Lao Government, with UNICEF support, is investing in national research on violence against children to understand the scale and nature of the different types of violence that children in Lao PDR face. This research will help to inform the Government and partners to improve and enhance strategies to identify, prevent and respond to violence against children.

Despite many achievements thus far society must continue working together to bring greater attention and broader support to the vital cause of child protection. By raising awareness within families and communities about the negative impact of violence against children and by standing together against violence, greater protection for vulnerable children can be ensured.