On 2 November 2018, the Delegation of the Lao PDR lead by H.E. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Vice-Chair of the National Commission for Advancement of Women and Mother-Child (NCAWMC), has attended the 71st Session of the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting organized by the UN to assess and review the implementation by the Lao PDR under the CEDAW for the period from its 2nd review in 2009 up to present. The said review was chaired by Ms. Dalia Leinarte, Chairperson of the UN’s CEDAW Committee. In attendance were the rest of the Lao Delegation members as well as Committee Members, while Observers such as representatives of International Organizations, International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), and a number of foreign press media were also present.
At the meeting, the Lao Head of Delegation highlighted the achievements and progresses made in the implementation of promoting advancement for women, gender equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in the Lao PDR. For instance, the implementation of Constitution and law, policies, socio-economic development, poverty eradication, sustainable development goals, international cooperation on human rights especially women’s rights in line with the CEDAW to which the Lao PDR is a Party. These endeavors enabled the Lao multiethnic women to receive protection of their rights and interests, promotion of their advancement, gender equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women progressively. Upon these achievements of the Lao PDR, the CEDAW Committee commended and highly valued those successes.
During the constructive dialogue between the Lao delegation and the CEDAW Committee, the delegation received a number of questions from the CEDAW Committee on areas of advancement for women, gender equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, of which the Lao Delegation provided information and clarification in detail, including the status and organizational structure of the NCAWMC, implementation of laws relating to the rights and interests of women, access to justice for women, access to education for children, women’s health, employment, equal pay for men and women, women migrant workers, equality in the family, inclusive participation in the INGOs, NPAs, budget allocation for the work of advancement for women, gender equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, among others. The explanation and clarification made by the Lao Delegation allow the CEDAW Committee and other participants to better understand the implementation of human rights for the Lao multiethnic women. As for additional information and clarification on the social protection, the Lao Delegation has provided in a written form to the Committee subsequently.
The meeting was conducted in a constructive manner and based on mutual understanding between the Delegation of the Lao PDR and the UN’s CEDAW Committee. After the meeting, the CEDAW Committee shall forward its recommendations for the Lao PDR to consider and further implementation under the CEDAW in the future.