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U.S. Supports the Lao Bar Association to Increase Free Legal Access for Vulnerable Populations
October 28, 2021

Two men shaking hands while holding document portfolios

Vientiane Capital — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided a grant LAK 525,164,000 (or equivalent to $54,768.98 USD) to the Lao Bar Association (LBA) at the Vientiane Capital Court on October 28.  USAID Country Representative to Laos Mr. Michael Ronning and officials from the Ministry of Justice witnessed the signing of the grant between Vice President of the Lao Bar Association Mr. Volatsamy Soulipaphanh and The Asia Foundation Country Representative Mr. Todd Wassel.

The grant is part of the USAID Legal Aid Support Program, implemented by the Asia Foundation.  LBA will use the grant to operate 17 Legal Aid Clinics, opened with support from USAID, in Vientiane Capital, and Champasak, Savannakhet, Salavan, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Xayabouly, and Vientiane provinces.

Mr. Ronning highlighted the partnership with LBA and the Ministry of Justice in promoting access to justice for vulnerable populations in Lao PDR.  Mr. Ronning said, “This grant reaffirms our commitment with the Government of Laos, under the U.S. Lao Comprehensive Partnership, to promote access to justice for all in Lao PDR.  USAID is committed to continue these efforts alongside the Government of Laos.”

The USAID Legal Aid Support program helps advance the goal of the Lao PDR, as described in the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP), and to become a rule of law state.  To date, USAID, The Asia Foundation (TAF), and LBA have opened 17 Legal Aid Clinics, which have provided Lao citizens with free legal aid services.  The United States also partners with the Lao PDR on a wide range of activities to promote basic education, improve health and nutrition, facilitate trade and investment, and counter trafficking in persons.