VIENTIANE, LAO PDR— Continuing the United States’ ongoing support the Lao government’s objective of making the Lao PDR a rule of law state, the Lao Bar Association opened the first Legal Aid Clinic, supported by the United States, during a ceremony at the Vientiane Province Lao Bar Association Office. Minister of Justice Xaysi Santivong and Vice Governor of Vientiane Province Bounsone Phetlavan joined U.S. Ambassador Peter M. Haymond for the ceremony, which was attended by more than 80 representatives from the Lao Bar Association, along with officials of the Ministry of Justice, lawyers, and development partners.
“This year is the 5th anniversary year of the U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership. The Legal Aid Support project demonstrates the United States’ determination under the Partnership to support the Lao government’s objective of making the Lao PDR a rule of law state, by increasing access to justice for the people of Laos,” said Ambassador Haymond “The United States is proud to support the Lao PDR to develop into a stronger and more prosperous member of ASEAN.”
This Legal Aid Clinic is part of the Legal Aid Support project, funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Asia Foundation. Through this project, the Lao Bar Association will open five additional Legal Aid Clinics at the provincial level in Savannakhet, Salavan, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, and Xayabouly, and continue to operate existing two Legal Aid Clinics in Vientiane Capital and Champasak.
This Legal Aid Clinic will provide Lao PDR citizens with important legal aid services, including advice, documentation, and court representation. The Legal Aid Clinic will also support the Legal Aid Decree’s objective to increase access to justice for all and ensure equality before the law, with the aim of building a secure, just, and prosperous society.
The Legal Aid Support project helps advance Lao PDR’s Legal Sector Master Plan goal of becoming a rule of law state. The United States also partners with Lao PDR on a wide range of activities to improve health and nutrition, enhance reading skills for Lao children, facilitate trade and investment, strengthen the rule of law, and counter transnational crime.