country profile on universal access to sexual and reproductive rights: lao PDR


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is a landlocked, mountainous and forested country and became a land linked country since 1997 as member of ASEAN, with estimated population of 6.6 million in 2012 (Lao Statistics Bureau, 2013), 59% of the population were children and young people below the age of 25 years. The majority of population lives in the rural areas (71%), including 8.9% who live in rural areas without road access. The annual population growth rate for Lao PDR is around 2.1%. The country is ethnically diverse, having 49 official ethnic groups with different 167 ethnic subgroups. There are four major ethno-linguistic branches are the Lao-Tai (68 per cent of the total), Mon-Khmer (22%), Hmong-Lu Mien (7%) and Sino-Tibetan (3% of the total population). The ethnic groups are marked by different cultures, and traditions. The health outcomes have been improving, as reflected in improving life expectancy at birth for both sexes from 53 to 66 years between 1990 and 2012 (51 to 64 years for men and 54 to 67 years for women (WHO, 2014).

The Lao Constitution was proclaimed in 1991 and amended in 2003 contains most key safeguards for human rights. The Lao Constitution also has provisions for gender equality and freedom of religion, for freedom of speech, press and assembly. The Lao Government ratified the CEDAW in 1981, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2009. Then, on 25 September 2009, Laos ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, nine years after signing the treaty. Similarly the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was ratified seven years (13th February 2007), after signing the treaty on 7th December 2000. Lao PDR did not sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families yet as this convention is under consideration.

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asia lao PDR

Sychareun Vanphanom, Phengsavanh Alongkone, Hansana Visanou