A solid support for Vietnamese citizens abroad

Amidst the tumultuous global landscape, since the 31st Diplomatic Conference, the efforts of citizen protection have yielded commendable achievements.
Họp Ban chỉ đạo công tác bảo hộ công dân trước tình hình xung đột leo thang căng thẳng ở Trung Đông
Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc chaired the meeting of the Steering Committee for citizen protection of escalating conflict and tension in the Middle East on October 23, 2023. (Photo: Anh Son)

Unprecedented challenges

In the context of the erruption of many hot spots in the world such as conflicts, coups, disasters, natural disasters, and the complexities caused by the violation of our fishing vessels and fishermen in international waters, the work of citizen protection faces many difficulties and challenges, and even unprecedented incidents.

Firstly, the unpredictable global situation due to conflicts and crises erupting in various hotspots.

Secondly, the surge of Vietnamese citizens traveling abroad, through diverse means, has heightened the demand for citizen protection and resolution of arising incidents. For instance, in locations such as Japan, South Korea, and Chinese Taipei, etc.

Apart from legal emigration and contractual employment, issues arise from citizens being lured or deceived into Southeast Asian countries into working in scam casinos and illegal online gaming facilities, posing complex challenges in citizen safeguarding.

Thirdly, the issue of Vietnamese citizens emigrating abroad, especially through illegal means, persists in Europe and is beginning to emerge in more areas such as North America, South America, and beyond.

Recently, the efforts in safeguarding our citizens and fishing vessels have encountered increased difficulties and challenges due to some countries intensifying their measures in managing and controlling foreign fishing vessels.

Remarkable achievements

Despite the volatile global landscape, the endeavors in safeguarding our citizens have been notably commendable.

The establishment and operation of the Steering Committee on Citizen Protection by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since mid-2021 have elevated the professionalism of this task. Notably, Resolution No. 04/NQ-BCS dated October 31, 2023, addressing citizen protection in Israel, was enacted amidst crises, marking a significant milestone. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs formed interdisciplinary task groups and on-site teams to execute citizen evacuations in Myanmar.

In 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues the procedures for protection and repatriation of fishermen exhibited professionalism and transparency in this effort.

Over the past two years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has promptly managed numerous citizen protection cases, garnering praise from the Party leadership, the State, and both domestic and international public opinions.

First, safeguarding, supporting, and evacuating citizens in Ukraine, aiding over 3,000 individuals with around 1,700 safely repatriated on six flights operated by Vietnamese airlines.

Second, intervening and rescuing over 2,000 citizens employed in scam casinos and online gaming facilities in Cambodia (including significant operations such as relocating over 200 individuals from Sihanoukville in May 2022, crossing the river to An Giang in August 2023), Philippines (rescuing over 400 people in May 2023), and Laos, etc.

Third, leading and coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security and relevant agencies to devise plans for relocating citizens from dangerous areas in Northern Myanmar and safely repatriating them to Vietnam. Up to now, nine chartered flights have brought back 1,014 Vietnamese citizens. Citizens from Malaysia, Singapore, and Egypt were also evacuated from dangerous zones to Vietnam.

Fourth, repatriating hundreds of detained fishermen abroad, providing protection for numerous Vietnamese fishing vessels detained by foreign authorities, exchanging and requesting foreign countries’ cooperation in providing information on violations by Vietnamese fishing vessels for domestic processing, contributing to the removal of the EC’s “yellow card” on Vietnamese seafood.

Fifth, actively engaging in addressing the protection of rights for Vietnamese enterprises, particularly cases in Algeria and UAE.

Currently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is directing diplomatic missions to closely monitor the situation in Israel, refining evacuation plans for citizens amid escalating conflicts or widespread disturbances impacting our citizens’ security and safety.

A solid support for Vietnamese citizens abroad
Vietnamese citizens supported to return home from Myanmar, said the Vietnam Immigration Department under the Ministry of Public Security. (Photo: Tuan Viet)

The focus in the near future

Faced with increasingly substantial, complex challenges demanding swift, responsible, and timely responses, the Consular Department identifies several crucial directions to enhance and intensify.

Primarily, the continual enhancement of regulations, procedures, and structures, including the development and issuance of a step-by-step crisis management process for safeguarding citizens abroad, aims to assign responsibilities to relevant ministries, branches, and agencies, alongside ensuring suitable financial mechanisms.

Furthermore, driving initiatives to improve the effectiveness of consular protection, with a focus on leveraging and advancing the information application of technology and the national population database for citizen management and statistics, actively implementing protection plans when necessary.

Lastly, adjusting financial usage regulations to align with the demands of citizen protection tasks and ensuring readiness for urgent situations. Immediate reassessment is required to suitably adapt to the current landscape.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ other duties in constructing a comprehensive, modern Vietnamese diplomatic framework, consular affairs, citizen protection, and the dedication of officials, both domestic and overseas, aim to effectively accomplish objectives. This commitment seeks to establish a steadfast and trustworthy support system for Vietnamese citizens abroad.

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