Dao Hong Lan, deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs explained to the newspaper Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) the process of revising the Law on Child Protection.
What are the most important points contained in the draft revised law?
It is proposed that the name of the law be changed to the Law for Children. It will have five chapters, one more than the current law. A major change in the draft law is the definition of a child as a person under 18, not 16 as defined in the 2014 law.
In the 2014 Law on Child Protection, Care and Education, neither the participation rights of a child is comprehensively or specifically covered, nor solutions or measures to ensure their rights are implemented. But the draft law dedicates one chapter on the child's rights and measures to ensure rights are respected and implemented. The chapter is a step to institutionalise the words in the 2013 Constitution: "Children have the right to participate in children's issues".
In addition, the draft also has a separate chapter on child protection during court proceedings and on juvenile justice.
Will the new law cite any specific agency to supervise the implementation of the law?
The National Assembly, particularly the National Assembly Committee on Judicial Affairs, the Committee for Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Children, will undertake supervisory tasks. Meanwhile the Viet Nam Fatherland Front and other political and social organisations will provide counter-arguments.
The law also dedicates a special chapter on the supervision of children's rights. For example, the law requires the Government, ministries and provincial People's Committees to submit supervision reports to the National Assembly. Meanwhile the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) acts as a co-ordinating agency for all activities from State management in implementing children's rights in accordance with the law.
What did the children say in the polls conducted by MOLISA during the law drafting process?
We started to draft the law late in 2011. In 2012 alone, MOLISA organised the first poll to collect children's opinion on amendments to the Law on Child Protection, Care and Education. Almost 35,000 children from 63 provinces and cities participated, of whom 53.5 per cent expressed a desire to raise the age of children to under 18.
In addition, during the law compiling process, MOLISA also organised many consultation workshops, particularly the Children Forum in 2014 to hear their opinions. At present, the draft version of the law is posted on the Government portal and the website of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs for people to comment. We also plan to organise another Child Forum in August to listen to their comments on the revised law before submitting it to the National Assembly. — VNS