Vietnam’s national report under the third-cycle Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on protecting and promoting human rights was adopted last Thursday at the 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008 is a transparent mechanism to review the protection and promotion of human rights in UN member countries.
At a recent meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam’s representative clarified 175 recommendations made for Vietnam at the 2nd cycle in 2014 and reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights.
Vietnam’s third-cycle UPR highlights its efforts to develop a law-governed state and strengthen judicial reform and its achievements in ensuring political, civil, economics, social, and cultural rights. The report covers Vietnam’s achievements in reducing poverty and ensuring social security as well as its respect for the right to freedom of speech, press, and access to information, particularly internet information, and its respect for freedom of religion and belief.
Vietnam fulfilled several Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule and is effectively realizing Sustainable Development Goals. Vietnam’s income per capita has increased steadily with income of poor households rising 15-20%, and the multi-dimensional poverty rate falling from 9.88% in 2015 to 7.69% in 2017.
The Vietnamese National Assembly now has 86 ethnic minority deputies, 133 female deputies, and 21 non-Party member deputies. For the first time, the top legislator is a woman. Vietnam’s legislative activities have been democratic, frank, and reformed toward power control. People’s freedom of religion and belief and the rights of ethnic minority groups have been ensured.
The Law on Religion and Belief effective since extends the right to freedom of religion and belief to every citizen and foreigner in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Party and State have paid special attention to ensuring the right to freedom of speech and the press. Vietnam now has multiple media agencies, 858 newspapers, 105 online newspapers, and 207 news websites. The Cyber Security Law which took effect in 2019 ensures a secure environment on the Internet and social networks for state agencies, enterprises and the public.
A session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (Photo: Reuters)
Vietnam now has 35 million Facebook accounts, 21 million access the Internet via mobile devices daily. Vietnam’s Internet growth is the fastest in the region and Vietnam has the 3rd largest number of social network users in Southeast Asia.
The Vietnamese State has made an effort to ensure the rights of vulnerable groups such as women, children and the disabled. Vietnam was the first country in the region and second in the world to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
Since 2010, the Vietnamese National Assembly has passed 40 laws in which the rights of women are mentioned. Women account for more than 48% of the workforce and nearly 25% of business managers.
Vietnam has been twice elected to the UN Human Rights Council in the 2008-2009 term and the 2014-2016 term. Vietnam is currently a member of the UN Social and Economic Council in the 2015-2019 tenure and the UNESCO Executive Council in the 2017-2021 tenure.
At the 73rdsession of the UN General Assembly last month, Vietnam was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure. Vietnam’s international status has risen thanks to its sound political system, social stability, and achievements in ensuring human rights.