This law sets out the measures for protecting women’s rights, promoting gender equality, development of women (including physical, mental, educational, and professional and skills developments), eliminating gender-based discriminations, and preventing crimes, such as human trafficking and domestic violence, against women. Article 17, Equal Rights in the Family, mandates that women and men have equal rights in all matters concerning family relationships, including equal rights in matrimonial property and inheritance. Part IV, The Protection of Women and Children against Trafficking and Domestic Violence, sets out measures to assist and protect women and children victims of trafficking and domestic violence; duties and obligations of governments and officers, social organizations, individuals, doctors, social workers, or other organizations that discover or receive information concerning a victim; and criminal procedures relating to offenders. Unofficial English translation available from the ILO here.
Rape is defined as using force, armed threats, drugs, or other means to coerce sexual intercourse with a woman against her will (where such woman is not the offender’s spouse), and is subject to three to five years of imprisonment. When the victim is between 15 to 18 years old, or is the offender’s dependent or patient, the offender is subject to 5-10 years of imprisonment. When the victim is under 15 years old, the offender committed battery, or the rape resulted the victim’s disability or caused the victim’s death, the offender is subject to 7-15 years of imprisonment. When the victim is also murdered, the offender is subject to 15-20 years of imprisonment, and may be sentenced to life imprisonment or death penalty. Violators are also subject to fines ranging from 5 million to 70 million kip. Attempted rape is also punishable. "Marital rape" through use of force or threats is also punishable by article 252 ("Sexual Intercourse by Force with a Female Spouse"), but separately and differently from other rape offenses. Violators of article 252 may face three months to one year imprisonment or re-education without imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 to 3 million kip. If the rape of a female spouse results in serious injury, the penalties increase to one to five years in prison and a fine of 1 million to 5 million kip. While article 248 includes male victims of rape, article 252's prohibition on marital rape only applies to female spouses. English translation available from the Laos Official Gazette here.
Anyone caught performing an abortion is subject to two to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 5 million to 15 million kip. Any woman caught performing her own abortion or arranging to have her own abortion done is subject to three months to one year of imprisonment and a fine of 3 million to 10 million kip. If the offender is in the habitual practice of performing abortions, they are subject to five to seven years imprisonment and a fine of 7 million to 20 million kip. The Penal Code also punishes attempted abortions. English translation available from the Laos Official Gazette here.
Discrimination against women or restriction of women’s participation in any political, economic, socio-cultural or family activity based on gender reasons is subject to one to three years of imprisonment. Violators are subject to “public criticism,” “re-education without deprivation of liberty,” or imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of 3 million to 10 million kip. English translation available from the Laos Official Gazette here.