• Mr. Dang Hoang Giang, Vice Minister of MOFA,
  • Representatives from government,
  • Distinguished speakers and panelists, non-governmental, the United Nations, and media, who are joining both offline at the Intercontinental Hotel and online via zoom today,

Good morning, Xin Chao!

It is with great pleasure that I join Deputy Minister Mr. Dang Hoang Giang and Director General Mr. Do Hung Viet in welcoming you to the International consultation workshop ‘Introduction to best practices and methods for developing a voluntary midterm report on the implementation of UPR Third cycle recommendations.’ Thank you for taking time to be here with us this morning.

As Co-Chair today, I would like to thank MOFA for this opportunity to build on our collaboration in relation to the UPR, and to support Viet Nam’s work in this area. I commend the government of Viet Nam for their efforts to track the implementation of its UPR commitments under the third cycle review and reporting process. The fact that Viet Nam has decided to develop a UPR mid-term report, which is voluntary, shows the country’s strong commitment and determination to follow the recommendations it received and accepted during the third cycle review. This commitment is particularly important as Viet Nam presents itself as a candidate for UN Human Rights Council membership.

Among many benefits that the UPR mid-term reporting mechanism can bring is the opportunity for Viet Nam to look back and reflect on the progress that has been made – what has worked, as well as on where further progress is needed. For example, Viet Nam has seen advances in economic, social and cultural rights, reflected by improvements in the Multidimensional Poverty Index. We have also observed advances in governance and the rule of law, but more work is required to ensure equal access to justice and inclusive participation of the most vulnerable, including, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities, among others – all topics featured in 3rd cycle UPR recommendations. By examining the level of implementation of recommendations across all areas, Viet Nam will be in a strong position to share its successes and support other States facing similar challenges, as it stands before its peers in the fourth UPR cycle in 2024.

As we discussed when we last met in December 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for the protection of human rights around the world, including in Viet Nam. However, the pandemic should not put a pause in UPR implementation. On the contrary, tackling the virus and improving human rights is in line with accepted UPR recommendations and should move together hand-in-hand. We know that responses to the pandemic that respect human rights and dignity will result in better, more inclusive outcomes in battling COVID-19. It will also help to ensure healthcare for everyone while spurring inclusive, sustainable development.

In particular, the importance of leaving no one behind has been brought into even sharper relief since the beginning of the pandemic. As captured in the UN Assessment of the Social and Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Viet Nam, we have seen progress on economic, social and cultural rights threatened, and inequalities exacerbated as different groups experience disproportionate impacts. In this context, it is vital that when we examine ways forward, a human rights-based approach is applied to data collection and COVID-19 response plans. We must also bring in the voices of those most at risk, such as persons with disabilities, LGBTQI persons, migrants, informal workers, members of ethnic minorities, and women and youth, especially the poor and near-poor.

A recent study on emerging good practices from the UPR, prepared for OHCHR, has highlighted that collaboration is a defining feature of the preparation of Mid-Term Reports. This is not restricted to within and across the Government, which is absolutely necessary, but extends to non-governmental organizations. We have learnt that the process is as important as the end-product. I am very pleased to see today the participation of many actors important for this process. I encourage you all to contribute actively to the discussions.

Similarly, I am pleased to welcome the involvement of Ministries of Foreign Affairs from Japan and Thailand as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). I look forward to learning from their good practices and insights on the key elements of a strong Mid-Term Report. I am also eager to learn the insights of the Vietnamese government agencies regarding progress and challenges they have faced in implementing UPR recommendations, as well as in reporting on the impact of these efforts.

UNDP is proud to be a long-standing, trusted partner of the Government of Viet Nam and of MOFA in this significant and meaningful UPR process, which seeks to uphold the human rights and dignity of all persons.

Now, I am very happy to introduce our colleague Mr Arnaud Chaltin of OHCHR.

Arnaud Chaltin works for the Treaty Bodies Capacity Building programme, established by the General Assembly to support States parties in building their capacity to implement their treaty obligations. Previously, he worked for OHCHR Bolivia, focusing on indigenous peoples rights and racial discrimination; the Humanitarian Funds, where he provided support to the Secretariat of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and UN Special Procedures, to support the Independent Expert on persons with albinism. He also worked with UNODC on the review mechanism of the UN Convention against Corruption. Prior to joining the UN, Arnaud worked with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in India, and the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs of Belgium. He has a law degree from the University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium and Masters’ degrees in human rights from the University of Leicester, UK.

Thank you/ Xin cảm ơn.

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