Second Legal Policy Dialogue in 2013: “Amending the Law on Marriage and Family from a Human Rights-Based Perspective”

Nov 25, 2013

Ha Noi – “Amending the Law on Marriage and Family from a Human Rights-Based Perspective” topped the agenda of the 2nd Legal Policy Dialogue in 2013 held today by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Deputy Minister of Justice Dr. Hoang The Lien and UNDP Country Director in Viet Nam Ms. Louise Chamberlain co-chaired the Dialogue, part of the “Strengthening Access to Justice and Protection of Rights in Viet Nam” project, in the company of Ms. Nguyen Thuy Anh, Deputy Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs.

At the Dialogue, the Ministry of Justice provided an overall assessment of draft amendments to the Law on Marriage and Family 2000 from a human rights-based perspective, with the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs spotlighting gender mainstreaming and gender equality components to the amendments, while the Institute for Social Development Studies examined the proposed law changes from a non-governmental organization perspective.

The United Nations, together with Vietnamese legal experts, also outlined key recommendations for amendments to the Law on Marriage and Family from a human rights-based perspective.

“In the process of drafting amendments to this law, the Vietnamese Government has ensured its citizen’s rights are legally upheld within the union of marriage and family, especially with regards to gender equality, the protection of children, mothers and disadvantaged members of society,” said Dr Hoang The Lien. “At the same time, the Government would like to study international experiences to ensure any amendments are appropriate in the context of Viet Nam’s unique cultural, legal and socio-economic characteristics as well as compatible with its domestic laws and any international conventions that Viet Nam is a party to.”

At the Dialogue, Ms. Louise Chamberlain tabled several issues from a human rights-based perspective for debate: "The gendered division of labour at home, with women traditionally sharing a significantly larger burden of unpaid household work, leads to the vulnerable positions of women and their children, especially upon separation and divorce," she said. "Other forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity also need to be addressed as part of this law as same sex couples, trans-gender and inter-sex people are forming families and having children. According to international human rights law they have a right to equality just like anybody else in the community.”

The Law on Marriage and Family 2000 will be revised or supplemented with the following substantive inputs:

  • Basic principles of what constitutes marital status and family in Viet Nam
  • Customary in marriage and family
  • Marriage (permitted age for marriage, living as husband and wife without marriage registration,same sex couples living together as husband and wife, etc.)
  • Respective personal rights of a husband and wife, representative for each other between husband and wife,defintions of common and private assets of a husband and wife
  • Rights and obligations between parents and children and between other family members
  • Identification of birth parents and children,surrogacy for humantarian purposes
  • Divorce and separation
  • Marital and familial relationships between Vietnamese people and other nationalities.

The Legal Policy Dialogue, also attended by Party Central Committee, Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, Central Committee of Internal Affairs, Viet Nam Bar Federation and Viet Nam Lawyers’ Association representatives, is an important event for Government of Viet Nam and international development counterpart representatives to discuss key issues and emerging legal and judicial reform needs in Viet Nam.

For further information, please contact:

Department of International Relations, Ministry of Justice, Tel: (84-4) 62739531
UNDP Office in Ha Noi, Tel: (84-4)38224383 x121

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