Cambodian Delegation Attends LAWASIA Annual Conference

January 2010

From November 9 to 12, ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) staff andCambodian lawyers attended the annual conference of LAW ASIA aninternational organization of lawyers’ associations, individual lawyers, judgesand legal academics, which focuses on the interests and concerns of the legal profession in the Asia Pacific region.

ABA ROLI’s Phnom Penh-based advocacy advisor, Brian Rohan, eight publicinterest lawyers and top Cambodian Bar Association leadership attended the conference held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The conference was the first LAWASIA event a Cambodian team attended.ABA ROLI, along with its implementing partner in Cambodia, East-West Management Institute, and Denise Arnold, a private lawyer from New Zealand supporting Cambodian public interestlawyers, coordinated the Cambodian delegation’s attendance. The delegation alsohad private meetings with LAW ASIA leadership. During the meetings, LAW ASIA offered to provide technical support and expertise on issues ranging from lawfirm management to bar association governance to the role of the bar in protectingpublic interest lawyers.

During the conference, ABA ROLI organized and hosted a panel discussion onproviding legal assistance to vulnerable communities. Ly Ping, senior attorneyat Samreth Law Group Cambodia’s first public interest lawfirm described the intense challenges Cambodian public interest lawyers face, especially regarding land rights. Truong Trong Nghia, vice president of the Vietnam Bar Federation and vice president of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, spoke about recent developments in legal aid in Vietnam.Theleaders of the Malaysian and Sri Lankan bar associations also presented ontheir associations’ legal services to the disadvantaged.

LAWASIA’s next annual conference is scheduled for early November in India.

To learn more about our work in Cambodia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <rol@staff.abanet.org>.

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