Civil society plays essential role in human rights review process
Ha Noi - The draft national report on the second cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR), an international human rights mechanism, was discussed with Government agencies and civil society in Ha Noi on 6 August.
After the first cycle of UPR in 2009, Viet Nam accepted 96 out of the 123 resulting recommendations and this draft report focuses on the implementation of these recommendations and recent progress in ensuring human rights in the country.
“Consultations with relevant parties help make the report more balanced, comprehensive and reflect the reality of the situation in Viet Nam,” said Mr Hoang Chi Trung, Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA) Department for International Organizations.
Speaking at the workshop, participants from political, social and professional organizations highlighted the essential role of civil society in the UPR process, especially in the implementation of the accepted recommendations and in the oversight of the implementation. They referred to gaps in the human rights protection system, especially in guaranteeing the rights of vulnerable groups, including children, poor women, people with disabilities, as well as the rights of people within criminal procedures.
“I believe that productive engagement between government and civil society is one of the most important benefits to emerge from the inclusive UPR process,” said Ms Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam. “More work is needed to strengthen the monitoring process of the human rights situation on the ground, as well as increasing the availability of data and evidence-based information on the current situation”.
The MOFA-organized workshop is part of the consultation process collecting opinions on the draft report before its submission to the UN Human Rights Council in January 2014. The draft report is also available on MOFA’s website for individuals and organizations to contribute opinions from 23 July to 15 August, 2013.
These consultations are supported by the UN Development Programme through a project that works to strengthen Viet Nam’s awareness and capacity to implement human rights obligations and improve engagement with regional and international human rights mechanisms.