Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Practice Relating to Rule 137. Participation of Child Soldiers in Hostilities
In 2009, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) stated:
2. Children in armed conflict (art. 38 [of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child]), including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39 [of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child]))
122. … Although article 49 of the Constitution stipulates that Lao citizens “shall have a duty to protect and defend peace and to perform military service in accordance with the provisions of the law”, article 3 of the Act on National Service Obligations provides that “male citizens of good health, aged between 18 and 28, must perform military service. Young women aged between 18 and 23 may be called upon to do so in case of need”. Therefore, no children below the age of 18 are enlisted in the armed forces. In time of war, children wi[ll] not be directly involved in combat, and the authorities responsible (Ministry of National defence and Ministry of security) will take the necessary measures to protect the civilian population, including children.
126. In the current situation where everything is normal, the Government applies the general principles of the  Convention [on the Rights of the Child] where it can; in applying the provisions of article 38 of the Convention, it will, of course, respect those principles, except in emergency situations beyond its control.
129. Given that the provisions of articles 38 and 39 of the Convention do not reflect the actual situation in the Lao PDR, the Government is unable to assess the progress made or difficulties encountered in implementing those articles. It is, however, in the process of looking into the possibility of signing the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.