EU Justice and Legal Empowerment Programme in Vietnam


PROJECT DURATION  :  November 2017 - November 2020             



LOCATION:  Vietnam



   UNDP    UNICEF     


OBJECTIVE: The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the rule of law through a more reliable, trusted and better accessed justice system. There is one specific objective: to increase access to justice for women, children and vulnerable groups including ethnic minorities and poor people. The implementation of the Action will also be guided by five critical cross-cutting themes, identified in the UN Common Country Assessment: human rights, gender equality, public participation, data for development, and partnership and innovation. The objectives of the programme are envisaged to be achieved through four results, each one of which is to be realized by implementing a set of activities as outlined below:


Result 1: Increased public awareness and understanding of rights and how to invoke those rights.          


  • Development and implementation of a comprehensive and professional legal empowerment behaviour change strategy;
  • Civil society interventions targeting vulnerable groups with particular awareness raising needs including women, children, ethnic minorities and poor people (Out of the scope of PAGoDA mechanism; to be implemented and reported by Justice Initiative Facilitation Fund (JIFF));
  • Support interventions to raise public awareness on protection of rights and access to justice for vulnerable groups, and in particular for women, children, ethnic minorities, and poor people;


Result 2: Increased access to legal advice, assistance and representation in both civil and criminal matters.


  • Capacity needs assessment of legal aid providers (LAPs) working in the justice system;
  • Capacity development of legal aid providers based on the needs assessment and in accordance with the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid;
  • Targeted support for the implementation of the Legal Aid Reform Project for the period 2015-2020 and for dispute resolution mechanisms in accordance with the Law on Grass Roots Mediation (2013) and based on priorities identified through rigorous research;
  • Legal advice and information sessions in prisons and pre-trial detention facilities;


Result 3: Improved enabling legislative and regulatory framework for legal empowerment and access to justice.


  • Targeted support for the revision of a limited number of laws and regulations that are proven to constitute substantial impediments to enhancing access to justice and/or to laws and regulations aiming at the protection of rights, in line Chapter 2 of the 2013 Constitution;
  • Support for civil society organisations to constructively engage with policy makers on issues pertaining to legal empowerment and access to justice based on demand driven research;
  • Maintaining the constructive policy dialogue between the EU, Viet Nam and the UN on justice sector reform;


Result 4: Enhanced integrity and transparency in the justice sector.


  • Support for the development and implementation of codes of conduct and ethical standards for professionals in the justice sector and the media and civil society organisations to research and report on corruption and malpractice in the justice sector;
  • Assistance for the publication of judgments and the accumulation of legal precedent;
  • Support to civil society actors to develop and implement projects to enhance integrity and transparency in the justice sector;


The Action focuses on those population groups which, according to dependable data, face the greatest obstacles in using the justice system to invoke their rights. More specifically, the following groups are the  beneficiary groups identified as vulnerable within the Action: the poor;  women (in particular the survivors of gender based violence); children in contact and in conflict with the law; and ethnic minorities. On the other hand, the main  targets of the action are the Ministry of Justice (MOJ); the Supreme People's Court (SPC); the Supreme People's Procuracy (SPP); the Ministry of Public Security (MPS); the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA); the Vietnam Lawyers' Association (VLA); the Vietnam Bar Federation (VBF); the National Assembly's Law Committee, Judiciary Committee and Social Affairs Committee. Other target groups include provincial departments of justice; the provincial courts and provincial procuracies; other committees and agencies of the National Assembly; law universities and research institutions relating to law and justice, non-governmental social organizations, and the media.

The Action will be  implemented by UNDP in coordination with UNICEF and UNODC. UNODC has a particular role to play in supporting states to implement the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice. UNODC, upholding the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, has supported Viet Nam to ensure that its economic and social development is based on the rule of law and supported by a criminal justice system, in which police, prosecution, courts and corrections function and interact effectively and in full respect of human rights standards. UNODC has extensive experience in building and enhancing law enforcement capacity for criminal justice system in Viet Nam, including direct engagement with the law enforcement and justice agencies such as the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Supreme People's Procuracy (SPP) and Supreme People's Court (SPC), and in providing technical assistance for combating gender based violence and child sex tourism.

Finally, the  location of the Action will be Viet Nam. It will focus on a limited number of provinces in order to increase impact in relation to its objectives. A selection of the provinces where the activities to be carried out will take place during the inception phase of the Action based on the following indicative criteria: (i) World Bank poverty rates; (ii) Prevalence of ethnic minorities; (iii) Scoring according to the Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI); (iv) Provincial scoring according to the 2015 Vietnam Justice Index; (v) Specific rationale and relevance to target vulnerable groups, for example provinces with high incidence of juvenile offending/child victims of crime for child related interventions; (vi) Commitment and capacity of provincial and local counterparts; and (vii) Synergy and complementarity with other UN and EU-funded projects and programmes.



Periodical updates on key project events and news highlights on UNODC's Southeast Asia and the Pacific are available  here



UNODC Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Nguyen Nguyet Minh (Ms)

Programme Specialist