Sweden Affirms Commitment to Supporting Vietnam’s Legal Aid System

The bilateral agreement for implementation of “Support to the Legal Aid System in Vietnam” project between Sweden and Vietnam was signed in Hanoi on 2 December, 2005. This commitment constitutes the continuation of Sweden’s support to Vietnam’s Legal Aid System from 2001 to 2004. In the coming phase (2005-2009), Sweden will not only provide financial and technical support and assistance but also lead the donor coordination and the donor harmonisation efforts in the field.
         Present at the signing ceremony are the Ambassador of Sweden to Vietnam, Mrs Anna Lindstedt, and Minister of Justice, Mr Uong Chu Luu.
         “Support to the Legal Aid System in Vietnam” will contribute to ensuring equal access to justice for the Vietnamese poor and disadvantaged groups, including children, ethnic minorities and women so that they can enjoy their legal rights upheld by Vietnamese law and international human rights treaties ratified by Vietnam.
         Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ambassador Anna Lindstedt emphasised the project’s significant impact on the political, social and economic situation in Vietnam. She stated “The implementation of this project will ensure the enforcement of the right to legal aid to eligible people. By making recommendations to amend and supplement the law, legal aid organizations will also contribute to improving Vietnam’s legal framework on the protection of human rights. In particular the rights of women and children will be promoted and upheld leading to women’s empowerment and equality with men.”
         Under the project, Vietnam and the donors will maintain dialogue on the protection and promotion of human rights in the legal aid system and in the implementation of the project; children’s rights and their participation; gender equality; HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination awareness among the legal aid experts and other legal staff at the provincial level; and increased financial commitment to the legal aid system by the government.
         The project will also provide technical supports to the National Legal Aid Agency and to the whole legal aid system both at the central and local levels.
         Jointly funded by Sweden, Switzerland, Novib of the Netherlands, and Save the Children/Sweden, this new four-year project will be implemented by the National Legal Aid Agency. Out of the total fund of EUR 7.9 million contributed by the international donors, Sweden will provide SEK 43 million (EUR 4,838,000).  The Government of Vietnam will contribute EUR 7.8 million.

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