Citizen protection: Providing what citizen need

Thanks to the effective coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agencies in the country and Vietnamese representative missions abroad, the citizen protection work has been implemented quickly and timely, contributing to the assurance of legitimate rights of Vietnamese entities, and meeting the wishes of citizens.
Vietnamese citizens who evacuated from Ukraine and returned to their homes safely reuniting with their families. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)
Vietnamese citizens who evacuated from Ukraine and returned to their homes safely reuniting with their families. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)

In the past few years, the world situation has become complicated, many challenges have emerged such as conflict, pandemic, climate change, natural disaster, food crisis… affecting lives and even threatening the health and livelihood of Vietnamese citizens living abroad.

According to statistics from the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, there are currently 5.3 million Vietnamese people living abroad. The number of Vietnamese people going abroad every year is increasing with different purposes, creating more and more pressure for the work of protection of overseas Vietnamese.

The complex and unpredictable world situation, as well as the increasing number of citizens with protection needs, have posed many challenges to Vietnamese authorities, but also shows the concern of the Party, State and Government for all Vietnamese citizens wherever they are.

The top priority

Article 17 of the 2013 Constitution stipulates: "Vietnamese citizens abroad are protected by the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam". On the basis of the consistent implementation of the State of Vietnam's policies to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of all citizens, the protection of citizens has always been a priority for Vietnamese authorities.

As an agency assigned by the Government to unify state management of consular affairs in the country and abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 94 overseas Vietnamese representative offices have actively and effectively supported the Vietnamese community, protecting their legitimate rights and interests, especially providing emergency help when necessary.

The most profound milestone in the recent citizen protection work is the operation to evacuate Vietnamese citizens in Ukraine to neighboring countries and help them return to their homeland on free humanitarian flights provided by the Government.

Before the conflict in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed the Embassy of Vietnam in Ukraine to develop a plan to evacuate citizens in case of armed conflict, threatening the safety of people.

When the conflict broke out, the operation to evacuate about 7,000 Vietnamese citizens residing in Ukraine was officially launched in full force in Ukraine and throughout the surrounding areas. With close guidance from the country and the advance preparation, Vietnamese representative missions in neighboring countries sent delegations to the border to organize and support people with the immigration procedures, moved them to a safe temporary shelter, arranged accommodation, food and rations for the people.

We cannot forget the image of the diplomats who escorted and received the Vietnamese evacuees from Ukraine all night; actively worked with the host country to take care of temporary residence for the compatriots; and even forgot to eat or sleep to do procedures for the citizens to return to their homeland quickly and timely.

Thanks to the close and effective coordination from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, relevant ministries, branches and Vietnamese representative offices in the area, up to now, the evacuation of Vietnamese people in Ukraine has been completed through six free humanitarian flights to bring nearly 1,700 people home, and arrangements for dozens of others to return home on commercial flights, while ensuring maximum publicity, transparency and convenience for the people.

The tears of happiness when seeing their loved ones again, words of gratitude and praise for the homeland of the citizens who have just returned from the conflict clearly depict the humanitarian policy of the Party, State and Government, and is the greatest pride for each officer working in the protection of citizens abroad.

Các thuyền viên Việt Nam lấy đồ và làm thủ tục trước khi về nước.
Vietnamese crew members who were in the chlorine gas (Cl) explosion at the port of Aqaba (Jordan) taking their belongings and completing procedures before returning home. (Photo: Embassy of Vietnam in Saudi Arabia and Jordan)

... Is the safety of the citizens and fellow compatriots

One of the most important jobs of Vietnamese representative missions abroad is protecting citizens. This is a task that shows the high responsibility of the State to Vietnamese citizens and in protecting their legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time shows the spirit of solidarity of the Vietnamese people in foreign lands.

Words of gratitude from crew members and the letter from the labor dispatching unit sent to the Embassy of Vietnam in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and some units under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express thanks for the protection of citizens during the toxic gas leak at the port of Aqaba (Jordan) fully reflects the meaning behind the work that the representative missions are trying day and night to do.

Although the accident took place in the Middle East with many difficulties, with great responsibility and humanity, the officials in the Embassy of Vietnam in Saudi Arabia and Jordan worked day and night to contact and coordinate with relevant agencies of both Jordan and Vietnam to resolve the case according to the wishes of the group and families.

As a result, seven Vietnamese crew members who were lucky to survive the chlorine gas (Cl) explosion at the port of Aqaba were able to return home safely, and the bodies of the five crewmen who died were soon returned to their motherland just over 10 days after the accident.

According to Nguyen Tien Dung, one of the seven Vietnamese crew members who survived the toxic gas explosion, despite having just experienced a life-or-death situation in a foreign land, when the crew members received a phone call of encouragement from the Embassy, their spirits became more cheerful and calmed down at peace. In addition, the letter from the labor dispatching unit also emphasized: "In our opinion, in addition to the responsibility, there is also the great humanity of the leaders of the Ministry, civil protection officials and other agencies in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when performing official duties.”

These stories are just some examples of the effort to protect Vietnamese citizens around the world. Every day, every hour, cases affecting the rights of citizens continue to happen, requiring officers in charge of citizen protection to always be "on duty".

Recent cases such as the fire in Manchester (UK), the case of two Vietnamese citizens being detained in Spain, the case of a group of Vietnamese citizens being tricked into working illegally in Cambodia, or issues related to the new passport, are prolonged efforts to protect Vietnamese citizens abroad, affirming the Party and State's consistent policy, considering the overseas Vietnamese community as an inseparable part of the nation.

One thing is for sure, wherever and under any circumstances, Vietnamese citizens can always rely on the Vietnamese representative missions abroad - where their rights and interests are protected in foreign lands.

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(Source: WVR)