Vietnam adheres to human rights, says diplomat
Vietnamese Permanent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh made this statement while presenting the nation’s report under the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council at a session in Geneva on May 8.
Minh said Vietnam places importance on preparing the Universal Periodic Review report so as to accomplish its membership obligations, as well as accumulate experiences, fully ensure human rights and increase international cooperation.
Fully ensuring human rights is the heartfelt aspiration of the Vietnamese people as they were previously deprived of basic freedom rights under the colonialism and experienced numerous sacrifices during the past struggles for national independence, he said.
The deputy minister highlighted Vietnam’s huge achievements in building a comprehensive legal system to ensure and promote human rights, noting that the people have joined political, social and professional organisations as well as state agencies in the inspection, supervision and enforcement of laws.
He went on to say that the National Assembly is the supreme body of State authority representing the will and desire of the people, while judicial bodies, such as courts, are entrusted with protecting justice and human rights, and combating crimes and violations.
Having underlined the rapid and diverse development of the mass media, the ebullient religious life and the fully implementation of the rights of women, children and the disabled, Minh said Vietnam has recorded progress in all fields, especially during the past 20 years of renewal, thanks to its efforts to ensure human rights.
The diplomat noted Vietnam’s GDP has grown steadily, exceeding 7 percent over the past decade. Per capita income has increased by five times from under 200 USD in 1990 to 1,024 USD in 2008, while the poverty rate, according to the national poverty line, has been cut from over 60 percent in 1990 to 13.8 percent in 2008.
However, he admitted Viet Nam still faces many difficulties and challenges, saying the country’s legal system in general, and in the field of human rights in particular, still contains inconsistencies and overlapping and conflicting at several points, leading to difficulties, even misinterpretation in application and enforcement at the grass-roots level.
Following the deputy minister’s report, representatives of 60 countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia, Europe, Africa and America participated in direct dialogues with Vietnam.
Many of these countries appreciated Vietnam’s renewal achievements and its strong commitments to foster human rights.
As the first nation to take the floor, Algeria applauded Vietnam’s priority in generating employment. Other African countries, including Benin, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Ivory Coast voiced sympathy over the difficulties facing Vietnam due to the war aftermath, and praised its results in maintaining high economic growth, fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, ensuring food security and providing healthcare services for the people, particularly those in rural areas.
Representatives from Latin America, including Cuba, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Venezuela spoke highly of Vietnam’s endeavours in accelerating judicial reform and gender equality, and called upon the international community to support the country’s development process.
The ASEAN member countries welcomed Vietnam’s participation in many international treaties and cooperation regarding human rights, as well as its coordination in establishing the ASEAN human rights mechanism.
China hailed Vietnam’s harmonious socio-economic development policy, while Japan emphasised the country’s achievements in accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals.
The Russian delegation complimented the efforts Vietnam has made to improve the local people’s living conditions and take full advantage of information technology to develop human rights.
Norway acknowledged Vietnam’s progress in socio-economic development, while both Switzerland and Australia acclaimed Vietnam’s willingness to learn international experiences in implementing human rights.
The UK welcomed Vietnam’s advances in improving economic, social and religious rights and Finland spoke of the Southeast Asian country’s success in national modernisation and poverty reduction.
At the session, representatives from several countries provided incorrect information, failing to reflect the reality of democracy and human rights in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese delegation, including officials from relevant ministries and agencies, reiterated the country’s clear and consistent policy, and at the same time provided information and exchanged frank opinions with these nations.
Representatives from 192 member states of the council, many UN agencies and international organisations attended the session, which last from May 4-15./.
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