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Assessment on the access to and utilixztion of legal services by enthnic minority women
Updated at: 19/03/2012

Vietnam has long been praised for its political commitment for gender equality as well as equality between different ethnic groups. Vietnam constitution states that male and female citizens are equal in all fields, including politics, economics, culture, social and in the family. Any discriminatory behaviors towards women and violation to women’s dignity will be forbidden. However, in reality, there still exist many gender differences. In general, women are still in inferior position compared to men in all aspects of life, with ethnic minority (EM) women are among the most disadvantaged and endure both gender and ethnicity inequality.

 Law on Gender Equality (GEL) and Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control (DVL) passed by the National Assembly of Vietnam in 2006 and 2007 respectively create a solid legal basis to safeguard equal rights between men and women. Besides legal framework, it is essential that the people have knowledge on legal issues and procedures as well as be guided and supported to implement their legal rights and responsibilities. . Legal services are important channels to provide citizens with such legal knowledge, guidance and support. As long as women in general and EM women in particular do not have equal access to legal services, it is difficult for them to fully exercise their responsibilities and rights in reality. Given this, promoting EM women’s and men’s access to legal services is fundamental for successful implementation of GEL and DVL, contributing to achieving gender equality for EM women and men. 

The idea of a study on EM women’s access to legal services stems from the Joint Programme on Gender Equality between the Government of Vietnam and twelve UN agencies. The Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) would like to convey its sincere thanks to MOLISA, Mrs. Nguyen Dieu Hong, Deputy Program Director; Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Nhung, Project Coordinator and Ms. Ha Thi Van Khanh, UNDP Program Officer and other colleagues for their ideas and valuable opinions and support to iSEE during the course of this study.

The study team would like to convey wholehearted thanks to Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of Bac Kan and An Giang provinces for coordination with different local stakeholders, organization and facilitation of the field work. Also, we express your deep thanks to relevant agencies and authorities of provinces, districts and communes in the study areas for their time, cooperation, constructive comments and opinions regarding local situation in the study subject. Finally, acknowledgement is directed to people in four communes of Cao Ky, Tan Son in Cho Moi district, Bac Kan province and Co To, Nui To in Tri Ton district, An Giang province for sharing their experience and concerns about their life and needs with the Study Team, helping us understand better the role and actual provision of legal services and legal aid for each group of ethnic minority men, women, Kinh men and women in society.

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