Coram International has recently been awarded a large-scale institutional contract to carry out a Situation Analysis (SitAn) of Children Affected by Migration in Southeast Asia on behalf of UNICEF EAPRO. The consultancy falls under a wider EU-funded programme to protect children affected by migration in Southeast, South and Central Asia between 2018 and 2021. The SitAn aims to contribute to the evidence base on ‘children affected by migration’ in the region, including migrant children, internally forcibly displaced children, cross-border migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and ‘children left behind’, as well as undocumented, stateless, smuggled and trafficked children. The research will investigate the protection risks facing these populations of children, including new risks emerging in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the scale and drivers of child migration in the region, with a particular focus on Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The study will employ a mixed-methods approach to data collection. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders at the regional and national level, as well as community members, children and families in each of the focus countries, in order to gather in-depth contextual information on the realities of child migration in the region. Quantitative methods will be employed in order to elaborate upon and quantify the drivers, risks and experiences identified by the qualitative research. Primary data collection will be preceded by an in-depth literature review and legislative analysis of regional, bilateral and national laws relevant to children affected by migration in the 10 ASEAN states.

In 2019 Coram International was contracted to conduct a situation analysis of children in the ten ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam). The analysis and report first considers progress in the region in the 30 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the child across health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, child protection and social protection. It then moves on to consider remaining challenges, emerging issues and opportunities in the early years (early moments matter), in the context of environment (safe and sustainable environment) and in adolescence (adolescent potential unleashed), particularly in light of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. The report concludes with recommendations for future action. The final report is available via this link.

In 2014-2015, Coram International provided technical guidance and support to the Ministry of Justice to review the draft Child Mediation Decree to ensure that is fully reflects international standards as set out in the CRC and other international instruments. The consultancy involved analysing the current guidelines, laws and documents relating to child mediation in Lao PDR as well as collecting information through site visits and meetings with stakeholders. Coram International also provided recommendations for the final decree.

In 2013-2014, Coram International conducted a comprehensive assessment of the justice system in Lao PDR, as part of a consultancy contract with UNICEF Lao PDR and in partnership with the Lao Supreme People’s Procuracy. The primary aim of this research was to evaluate the way in which the justice system responds to and handles cases involving children in conflict with the law, and children who are victims and witnesses. The research involved extensive desk-based research, as well as in-country field research across five provinces. As part of this consultancy, Coram International worked closely with an expert group from the Lao Government, and with national researchers, to build the capacity of these representatives to conduct research and to contribute to this and future assessment reports. The research methodology included semi-standardised interviews, focus group discussions and quantitative data collection tools and resulted in a series of recommendations to ensure the system delivers child-friendly justice in line with international standards. As a second component of this work, the team also engaged in legislative analysis and the development of recommendations for the Draft Juvenile Justice Law.

In 2013, Professor Carolyn Hamilton and Coram International conducted a mapping and analysis of national legislation related to violence against children in each of the ten ASEAN Member States (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). This mapping and analysis compared national legislation to international laws, standards and best practices, including the recommendations and findings from UNICEF’s Violence Against Children Study. The project included a detailed comparison across the ten ASEAN Member States, highlighting common issues, concerns, or successes and making recommendations for legislative reform.

In 2012-2013, Coram International worked with the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF Lao PDR to engage in qualitative and quantitative research and analysis of existing mediation practices for children in conflict with the law in Lao PDR. The research focused on mediation efforts provided by community-based Village Mediation Units, police officials and prosecutors. Coram International conducted primary data collection in Lao PDR, alongside law students to whom they had provided research training, focusing on five regions in Lao PDR: Vientiane, Attapeu, Savannakhet, Luangnamtha and Oudomxay. Based on both primary and secondary data collection and analysis, the team formulated recommendations for the revision of child justice and mediation laws, policies and practices in accordance with the existing national laws and policies and in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards on diversion and restorative justice.

In 2012, Coram International conducted a study on young people’s perceptions and attitudes on issues related to violence against women and girls in Lao PDR and Thailand in order to strengthen the evidence base on prevention of violence against women and girls in East and Southeast Asia. The assessment involved a series of highly participatory interviews and interactive group discussions across Thailand and Lao PDR, preceded by a thorough study of laws, polices and social norms on violence against women in the region. Coram International presented findings, analysis and recommendations through a report and a participatory data validation workshop including UN Women, UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, teachers and young people. This included the development of concrete recommendations for reform, and increased understanding of the root causes and social constructs that lead to gender based violence. The study informed the design of primary prevention interventions designed to address the causes of gender based violence.