Press Release

Joint Statement by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Lao PDR committing to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 16th December 2023

14 December 2023

Fourteen years ago, on 25 September 2009, Lao PDR was among the first few ASEAN countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), marking a landmark moment in the country’s journey towards a more just and inclusive future for all.

On 25 May 2016, the Government of Lao PDR submitted to the Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) the initial National Report on the measures taken to implement and monitor the progress towards the full realization of the rights of persons with disabilities at the country level.


On 30 September 2022, the CRPD issued Concluding Observations, namely recommendations that the Government of Lao PDR is expected to address in the following five years and implement by the next CRPD review.


In preparation of the CRPD review of Lao PDR, in 2022 the UN, in partnership with the Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA), supported Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) representatives to participate in each stage of the CRPD review cycle and action planning to address the barriers that affect them:  

  • The UN supported 11 OPDs in Lao PDR to submit their joint alternative report to the CRPD and enabled their participation in an independent briefing for the Committee in Geneva in August 2022 This was the first-ever CSO-led report to the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies.
  • The UN Country Team (UNCT) submitted a joint UNCT report to the CRPD; 95 per cent of the recommendations proposed in the UNCT Joint Parallel Report, and OPDs Parallel Report, were incorporated in the CRPD Concluding Observations.
  • The UN supported the Lao PDR National Delegation to collect and analyze data on the situation of persons with disabilities for the constructive dialogue with the CRPD including through a series of cross-ministerial coordination meetings and a mock session led by the former CRPD Member, Mr. Monthian Buntan of Thailand.  

Marking the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2023, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres statement reads, “Truly sustainable development for persons with disabilities requires a laser-like focus on their needs and rights — not only as beneficiaries, but as active contributors across social, economic and political life. This means ensuring that persons with disabilities are at every decision-making table, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”


In 2023, the UN is working towards implementation of the CRPD recommendations in Lao PDR:  

  • The UN has supported the National Committee for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) to initiate seven consultations to develop a feasible and measurable CRPD National Action Plan (NAP) to implement the CRPD Concluding Observations in close partnership with OPDs. 
  • The UN, in partnership with the Disability Service Center (DSC) and the Disability Mainstreaming Advisory Service (DMAS), conducted a research study on employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in Lao PDR. 
  • The UN has worked with two job centers and businesses to deepen their understanding of the business case of disability-inclusive employment and strengthen their capacity to reach, employ, and retain employees with disabilities.
  • The UN, in partnership with DMAS, provided tailor-made job readiness training and job placement support for 52 young job-seekers with different types of disabilities.
  • The UN has included OPDs in the preparation process for the 5th population and housing census, in order to improve the disaggregation of disability data and the training of enumerators.
  • The UN has supported the drafting of a new National Inclusive Education Strategy for Lao PDR, that aims to better integrate children with disabilities in the education sector. The UN further conducted research on inclusive education and school feeding in consultation with the Inclusive Education Promotion Centre and OPDs, resulting in a regional Guidance Note.
  • The UN is collaborating with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to deliver a monthly disability cash transfer through the banking system to 428 households with 462 children living with disabilities to support the financial cost of caring for the child with disabilities in Xiengkhouang province. Additionally, assistive devices and technology would be provided to those in need to increase their access to social services and play.
  • The UN has supported the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, to establish a first-of-its-kind Counselling Room for Children with Disabilities and their Families. The facility is designed to provide essential services such as counselling, healthcare, assistive devices, and physical and mental therapy to children with disabilities and their families in Xiengkhouang and neighbouring provinces.
  • The UN has invested in developing an inclusive workplace and programming environment to ensure the participation and engagement of persons with disabilities. In close coordination with OPDs, the UN have developed localized disability inclusion action plans, trained staff in disability inclusion principles and practices and actively recruited persons with disabilities, providing reasonable accommodations to people of all abilities.
  • The UN actively participated in the Annual Disability Policy Dialogue to promote Disability Inclusion in the activities of line ministries and Development Partners across sectors, such as nutrition, governance, education, justice, economy, and protection of women and children.
  • The UN has enhanced its partnership network with OPDs – moving towards established agreements between local disability organizations, enshrining the principles of ‘nothing about us without us’ and advancing our joint capacities to address the barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from the full enjoyment of their rights.


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