Small steps towards the rule of law in Laos

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Since 2017, the University of Luxembourg has been linked to the University of Vientiane through a very special partnership that goes far beyond financial aid or courtesy visits. It is about accompanying Laotian lawyers with a view to laying the foundations of the rule of law in a country where custom still often prevails over written laws.

When we talk about cooperation and development aid, we mainly think of financial aid, whether it is to support local actors like associations or NGOs or to contribute to the construction of schools or hospitals. Luxembourg's development policy has moved towards concentrating its resources on a limited number of countries and, for each, on a limited panel of projects, in order to optimize results. In Laos, seven projects are underway, ranging from human resource development in the tourism and hotel sector to strengthening the effectiveness of official development assistance management and access to health for the most vulnerable.

In 2017, a partnership was added between the University of Luxembourg and the National University of Laos. "A first project had been launched in 2014", recounts Stefan Braum, a professor at the Uni's Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance. "I was dean of the faculty at the time and was asked by LuxDev to participate in the evaluation of this project to strengthen competencies in higher education in law." An evaluation that gave him an idea, developed with Martine Schommer, at the time Director of Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and now Luxembourg's ambassador in Paris. "We wanted to pursue this project through a partnership between the two universities. It was a revolution for Laos because it was the first time that cooperation was authorized directly with a foreign public institution."

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