Speech of United Nations Resident Coordinator at the Universal Periodic Review Debriefing

02 Apr 2014

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Event:    Universal Periodic Review Debriefing
Venue:    International Conference Center, 11 Le Hong Phong street, Ha Noi

Excellency Mr. Hoang Chi Trung, Director General of Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Representatives from diplomatic missions and civil society,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to be with you at this debriefing on the outcome of the universal periodic review of the human rights situation in Viet Nam at the Human Rights Council in February.

I would like to commend the Government of Viet Nam for presenting its national report and for engaging in an interactive dialogue with member states on achievements and remaining challenges in the promotion and protections of human rights in Viet Nam. As a result of the review, Viet Nam received a total of 227 recommendations. In June the Government will report back to the Human Rights Council how many recommendations it accepts to implement in the next four years.

Looking at the number of recommendations Viet Nam received, the following priorities emerge: 60 recommendations were made on Viet Nam’s collaboration with the UN system, including on ratifying the Convention against Torture and the Disability Convention and a call to establish a national human rights institution; 27 recommendations concern freedom of expression and 13 concerned freedom of religion or belief, association and peaceful assembly and rights to participate in public and political life, 26 recommendations are linked to the right to life, in particular on issues concerning the death penalty and arbitrary detention, 20 recommendations target the right to education, 18 recommendations address the rights of religious and ethnic minorities including issues around forced evictions and confiscation of property, 16 concern gender equality issues including domestic violence, and 14 recommendations are addressed to the administration of justice including a call to ensure that the penal code and criminal procedure code are in line with international human rights standards, that people have access to fair trials and legal assistance.

The debriefing today is a very useful way for everyone to learn more about the Government’s assessment of the human rights situation and challenges in the country. Today is an excellent opportunity for the Government and the civil society to provide feedback on the review and which human rights issues the Government should commit to following up. This will also be useful as new legislations are being developed in line with the Human Rights guarantees made in the 2013 Constitution adopted in November 2013 and other new laws emerging from Viet Nam’s response to the UPR.

One of the most important benefits of the UPR mechanism so far has been that it provides for an inclusive platform for all stakeholders to come together and identify strengths and gaps in the human rights protection system, and to identify solutions together on how to overcome remaining challenges.

In line with the inclusiveness of the UPR, I strongly encourage civil society participation from Viet Nam to the Human Rights Council session in June during which the UPR report of Viet Nam will be adopted. During this session NGOs will be able to make statements in line with the proceedings of the Human Rights Council. It is therefore important that a broad range of civil society voices from Viet Nam will be present to reflect the diversity of the civil society landscape in Viet Nam. The Vietnamese civil society is well prepared to make constructive contributions as they have submitted their own stakeholder report to the Human Rights Council prior to the review in February.

In line with the voluntary pledges made by the Government in support of its Human Rights Council membership, I would like to encourage the Government to strengthen grass-roots democracy and the people’s involvement in the planning and execution of policies, and improve Viet Nam’s engagement with political, social organizations working in the field of human rights and to ensure the participation of all groups of the society, including marginalized, excluded and discriminated people at different stages of its work in the Human Rights Council.

The UN in Viet Nam is fully committed to supporting national efforts to ensure, protect and promote human rights through our One UN Plan for 2012-2016. I would like to offer full support of the UN system in Viet Nam to facilitate regular dialogues such as today to discuss a UPR follow up action plan to strengthen human rights in Viet Nam.
Thank you.