Laos

Flag of Laos

From 2016 Westminster Foundation for Democracy has been supporting the National Assembly of Laos and the newly established People’s Provincial Assemblies, through a programme funded by the UK embassy in Vientiane. Working with the Justice Committee to improve their representative function by engaging with citizens is a core element of the programme. The Justice Committee, with WFD support, is establishing a more effective system to manage responses to over 300 public petitions received each year.

2016: year of first WFD programme
Context

The National Assembly of Laos PDR operates a one-party state system. The Assembly oversees the Executive, takes decisions on matters of public importance (including legislation) and represents the people of the country. Every five years, members are elected using a list-based system. In December 2015, constitutional reform broadened the National Assembly’s representative reach at the provincial level with the establishment of 18 People’s Provincial Assemblies. This reform demonstrates a willingness to exercise its core mandate in ways that align with international norms of democratic transparency, accountability and representation.

Improving citizen representation

WFD is providing technical advice based on the experience of similar UK democratic institutions (House of Commons, devolved assemblies, Ombudsman office) and WFD’s partner parliaments in other countries who are responsible for responding to public complaints. For example, the UK House of Commons and representatives from Indonesia shared lessons on handling public petitions in June 2017. By sharing a range of examples on different approaches and practices adopted to ensure citizens’ complaints are addressed more systematically within targeted timeframes, the programme will help defend citizens’ interests in the governance of Lao PDR.

Engaging essential stakeholders

Improving understanding of the role of the Justice Committee between members at the national and provincial levels across the country on committee mandates, the Law on petitions, coordination mechanisms as well as effective oversight system and procedures is also taking place. Agreement on oversight systems, public petition handling mechanisms, standard petition forms and templates to be used by the Justice Committee was supported by essential stakeholders (People’s Supreme Court, People’s Prosecutor Office, Ministry of Justice, State Inspection Authorities, State Audit Organisation) contributing to the sustainability of our work. Links to more information about the programme

Country Data

Population:

Population:

7.06
Million
GDP:

GDP:

18.1
Billion (USD)
GNI per capita:

GNI per capita:

$2.460
(USD)
Media freedom:

Media freedom:

85/100
(not free)
Democracy index:

Democracy index:

12/100
(not free)

Results

Increased capacity of Members and staff of the National Assembly’s Justice Committee to exercise their new roles and powers.
Enhanced understanding among Members and staff of the Law Committee and Justice Committee in legislative analysis and oversight.
Increased public awareness of the role of the National Assembly Justice Committee.

Implementation

Supporting the Justice Committee in Laos
Underway
Planned end: March 2018

News

A group photo

From Westminster to Tynwald: Lao delegation visit UK

In March 2017, Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s programme Supporting the Capacity and Accountability of the Lao Parliament, offered a delegation from the National Assembly the opportunity to exchange ideas on how different jurisdictions approach the rights of citizens and legislation through a study visit to the UK. WFD uses the full breadth of the UK democratic […]

A group photo

Development Effectiveness and the Sustainable Development Goals

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