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

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided a grant of over LAK 525 million (equivalent to US$54,768) to the Lao Bar Association (LBA) at the Vientiane Court on Oct 28.

USAID Country Representative to Laos Michael Ronning and officials from the Ministry of Justice witnessed the signing of the grant between Vice President of the Lao Bar Association Volatsamy Soulipaphanh and the Asia Foundation Country Representative Todd Wassel.

The grant is part of the USAID Legal Aid Support Programme, implemented by the Asia Foundation. LBA will use the grant to operate 17 Legal Aid Clinics, opened with support from USAID, in Vientiane, and Champassak, Savannakhet, Saravan, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Xayaboury, and Vientiane (province).

Mr. Ronning highlighted the partnership with LBA and the Ministry of Justice in promoting access to justice for vulnerable populations in the 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 the Lao PDR. USAID is committed to continue these efforts alongside the government of Laos.”

The USAID Legal Aid Support programme 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.

Source: Lao News Agency