Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister refutes unverified UN Human Rights reports

WVR - According to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet, reports from United Nations agencies and related parties about Vietnam contain many details constructed on unverified information, leading to biased assessments of the situation in Vietnam.
Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Vũ Hùng Việt không đồng tình với các báo cáo sai lệch về quyền con người ở Việt Nam
Deputy Foreign Minister Do Hung Viet speaks at the press conference to announce Vietnam's national report under the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism on April 15, 2024. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong).

The information was presented by the Deputy Minister at the press conference announcing Vietnam's national report the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism on April 15. At the press conference, Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet answered many questions from reportefrs related to the fourth UPR cycle report.

UPR is one of the most important mechanisms of the UNHRC, tasked with reviewing the human rights situation in all United Nations member countries, thereby promoting countries to fully implement their human rights obligations and commitments on the principles of dialogue, cooperation, equality, objectivity, and transparency.

Many details unverified, lacking objectivity

Regarding comments on reports from United Nations agencies and related parties about Vietnam under the fourth UPR cycle report, Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet said that related to the report of the United Nations organizations in Vietnam, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam had made a statement on April 11.

The Deputy Minister clearly stated, one of the foundational principles of modern international relations recognized in the Charter of the United Nations is the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries. And one of the principles that also forms the foundation of the relationship between Vietnam and other countries in the world is the respect for each other's political institutions.

"I firmly reject those opinions, proposals, and recommendations that violate this rule," the Deputy Minister emphasized.

Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet stated clearly, he disagrees with many other contents in that report. Because according to him, the reports contain many details built on unverified information, giving biased assessments of the situation in Vietnam.

Accordingly, Vietnam organized many consultation workshops to gather opinions, but the organizations did not participate in that process, and they were not even present in Vietnam, yet they sent many distorted information assessments about the situation in Vietnam.

"For the national report of Vietnam, we had a very extensive consultation process with all relevant parties to consolidate and build Vietnam's report," the Deputy Minister said.

On the contrary, all other reports of the United Nations agencies were not conducted publicly, transparently, and were not fully consulted like the way Vietnam conducted its national report. The Deputy Minister emphasized that Vietnam's participation in the consultation on the content of those reports was completely non-existent.

While we are very transparent, public, and ensure inclusivity with the participation of all relevant parties, the other reports were not conducted in such a manner," Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet affirmed.

The Foreign Ministry leader emphasized the principles when conducting UPR are "dialogue, equality, objectivity, and transparency", and also hoped that international organizations, diplomatic agency representatives of countries will consider carefully when using information in the reports and use verified information sources.

"Indeed, the ambassadors - those who are directly present in Vietnam, witnessing the changes, progress, advancements of Vietnam day by day, hour by hour will bring the most complete, objective information to the Governments during the exchange, recommendations for Vietnam at the UNHRC in the coming time," the Deputy Minister said.

Many advantages, but not without challenges

According to Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet, the process of implementing the recommendations from UPR cycle III that Vietnam had accepted and built the fourth UPR cycle report included 4 advantages.

First, the continuous policy and state policy is to protect and promote human rights. The 13th National Party Congress identified placing people at the center of development policies; considering people as the most precious capital, caring for people as the highest goal, creating a firmer foundation to ensure human rights better. In addition, the increasingly complete legal framework has created an important foundation to better ensure the rights and basic freedoms of the people.

Second, our country has achieved many outstanding achievements and economic and social development, the life of the people is continuously prioritized, the strength and stature of the country is enhanced.

Third, the serious and active implementation of international commitments on human rights, including the implementation of international human rights treaties of which Vietnam is a member, and the Sustainable Development Goals, is also an addition, supporting the process of implementing UPR recommendations.

And finally, throughout the UPR process, Vietnam has received cooperation, companionship, support, and assistance from countries, international organizations, and the United Nations. On this occasion, we would like to thank our partners and hope that this positive, constructive cooperation and sharing will continue to be promoted and more lasting in the future.

The Deputy Minister said, besides the advantages mentioned above, there are still certain difficulties in deploying the recommendations of UPR cycle III.

The biggest difficulty has to be mentioned is the Covid-19 pandemic, profoundly and comprehensively affecting all aspects of economic - social life on a global and regional scale, including Vietnam. In this context, Vietnam faces many difficulties in resources for development, while still having to respond to climate change, extreme weather forms, and many other global issues that severely affect people's livelihoods.

Besides, there are times, in places, the awareness of the people and officials at all levels about protecting and promoting human rights may not yet be given due attention.

Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister refutes unverified UN Human Rights reports

The press conference is also an opportunity for Vietnam to learn more about global practices to perfect the country's human rights policy system. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)

Important factor

Regarding the participation of related parties in the UPR process in Vietnam, the Deputy Minister said that in this cycle as well as in previous cycles, the full participation and wide consultation of related parties is an important factor and always facilitated.

Along with the openness, transparency of the focal agencies implementing the recommendations, political-social organizations, mass organizations have shown a proactive, positive role in this process.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized several workshops sharing international experiences and consulting on the content of the Report comprehensively, transparently with the contribution of opinions from Ministries, political-social organizations, professional organizations, non-governmental organizations, development partners, and people; also opened channels to receive contributions through letters, emails, and embraced many constructive opinions. In addition, some Ministries and sectors also organized several conferences, workshops related to UPR recommendations within their responsibility.

Political-social organizations, people's organizations proactively organized activities to share information to promote participation in building this process, including contributing to the national report as well as sending reports of related parties.

Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister refutes unverified UN Human Rights reports
With a consistent policy of protecting and promoting human rights, Vietnam attaches great importance to the UPR mechanism. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)

Higher duty and responsibility

UPR and building the national report as well as implementing the UPR recommendations is the duty of all United Nations member countries.

"Vietnam will continue to strive to enhance its contribution at the UNHRC in the coming time," Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet affirmed.

Building the report is also right at the time of participating and being a member of the UNHRC, which has made Vietnam feel an even higher duty and responsibility for the report.

Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet said that the process of building the report of Vietnam is also linked with the process of participating in the UNHRC now, as well as the motto set out right in the lobbying process that is to ensure respect, understanding with dialogue cooperation, ensuring human rights for all people.

In the process of preparing this report, it fits with the priorities, commitments of Vietnam at the Human Rights Council on topics such as human rights in response to climate change, rights of disabled people, health rights, healthcare, anti-discrimination...

Regarding contributions in participating in the UNHRC, the Deputy Minister said that Vietnam also promoted some initiatives like at the beginning of 2023, Vietnam successfully promoted the UNHRC to adopt a resolution commemorating 75 years of the Universal Declaration of UNHRC and 30 years of the Vienna Declaration and Action Program on Human Rights. This resolution was adopted by consensus with the sponsorship participation of more than 120 member countries.

"Vietnam will continue to strive to enhance its contribution at the UNHRC in the coming time," the Deputy Minister affirmed.

Regarding adjustments in Vietnam's policy, the Deputy Minister said that Vietnam is still always concerned and striving to improve the gaps in ensuring human rights.

The Deputy Minister cited the Constitution of 2013 dedicated a chapter to the issue of human rights. And with the Constitution, Vietnam had a relatively wide rule based on protecting and promoting human rights. Based on that, Vietnam has revised and supplemented more than 100 laws and other legal documents. This is a continuous process.

As mentioned in the report, from 2019 to 2023, Vietnam has revised and supplemented more than 40 laws and legal normative documents related.

The Deputy Minister said that Vietnam is taking advantage of mechanisms including multilateral, bilateral, regional, and international to improve the existing gaps. Currently, Vietnam has human rights dialogue mechanisms bilaterally with the European Union, the US, Australia, Russia, China, and is also an intergovernmental member of ASEAN on human rights, and a member of the UNHRC.

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