Tens of thousands of villagers in Laos, especially those living in remote places, have limited access to legal resources, according to Asia Foundation which helped set up a programme to encourage access to justice in the country four years ago.
The programme, run in conjunction with the Lao Bar Association (LBA) and Ministry of Justice (MoJ), provides poor and rural Lao populations with greater access to legal aid through paralegals made up of volunteers from local villages.
There are only three legal aid clinics so far and more is needed, Asia Foundation said.
“Although the LBA’s capacity is developing, only a few legal aid clinics have been set up around the country to support the tens of thousands of Lao citizens,” it said, to help with issues ranging from compensation and sexual assault to land disputes, domestic abuse, and inheritance disputes.
“The harder to reach rural poor in Laos still only have limited access to legal services – services that need to extend to minority groups, women’s networks, and other marginalized populations,” the article added.