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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Viet Nam
Represented by 23-member delegation headed by Mr. Ha Kim Ngoc, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Viet Nam page on the UPR website

Troika *

Costa Rica, Kazakhstan and Kenya,

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Viet Nam page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • Following the adoption of Viet Nam’s last UPR report by the Council, the Prime Minister approved the master plan for the implementation of UPR recommendations. 17 competent ministries and agencies were tasked to develop their own plans for implementation in specific areas;
  • To date, all accepted recommendations have been seriously and actively implemented in all domains, particularly the development of laws and policies on human rights, poverty reduction, sustainable economic development, social security, employment, education, healthcare, fundamental freedoms of citizens and rights of the vulnerable groups;
  • Viet Nam has developed and been implementing a strategy on judicial reforms until 2020 to build a clean, strong, democratic, strict and fair, and step-by-step modernised judicial system for national development and protection of the people;
  • The adoption of the 2013 constitution by the national assembly was the most important event in the country’s political life; an entire chapter of it was exclusively dedicated to human rights in conformity with the international norms and conventions on human rights;
  • Before its submission to the national assembly, the draft constitution was made available on the mass media for ten months. Over ten million comments from political and social organizations and the people were directed to the drafting committee;
  • Twenty-five key laws have been enacted or amended since 2009 to better respect and exercise human rights.  The Government has approved and implemented forty-one national socio-economic development strategies and programmes, where priorities were awarded to vulnerable groups;
  • The comprehensive strategy on growth and poverty reduction has helped Viet Nam slash its national poverty rate, under national poverty line, from 58.1 % in 1993 to 7.8 % in 2013, thus enabling the country to be among the earliest to attain the MDG on poverty reduction;
  • The decent economic growth of 5.5 to 6 % between 2009 and 2012 permitted Viet Nam to accomplish many targets, such as creating 1.5 million new jobs every year, keeping unemployment below 2 % and completing the universalization of primary and secondary education;
  • In Viet Nam, the freedoms of information, speech and expression were enshrined in the Constitution and various relevant laws were ensured in practice by State agencies and encouraged by the diverse emergence of the press and mass media, including the Internet;
  • The consistent policy of Viet Nam was to respect, ensure and create enabling conditions for all people to exercise the freedom of religion and belief, strictly prohibit any discrimination for religious and belief reasons, and guarantee the activities of religious organizations by laws;
  • The political representation of ethnic minorities was on the rise; the number of national assembly deputies of ethnic minority origins was always higher than their proportion in the population;
  • Viet Nam signed the Convention against Torture in 2013 and will ratify it, as well as the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2014.

Participants

In total  of 106 States participated in the dialogue:  34 HRC members and  72 observers  (Statements available on the Viet Nam page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Progress achieved to advance social and economic rights
  • Steps taken to reduce poverty rates;
  • High school enrolment rates at primary and secondary levels;
  • The national action plans for children (2012-2020) and protection of children (2011-2015);
  • The signature of the Convention against Torture;
  • Progress on protecting the rights of LGBT persons.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Measures to ensure the realization of freedom of opinion, expression and association;
  • Steps taken to ensure freedom of expression was protected both offline and online;
  • Efforts to ensure civil society and NGOs were able to carry out their work freely;
  • Measures taken to release those held in detention for political or religious beliefs;
  • Steps to abolish the death penalty and reducing the number of crimes carrying the death penalty;
  • Efforts to combat discrimination against women and girls and ensure gender equality.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Viet Nam.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To create conditions favourable to the realization of freedom of opinion, expression and association;
  • To ensure that freedom of expression was protected both offline and online and to enable unrestricted access and use of the internet and allow bloggers, journalists and other internet users and NGOs to promote and protect human rights;
  • To ensure civil society and NGOs were able to carry out their work freely; To take measures to end prosecution against peaceful protesters;
  • To establish a moratorium on the death penalty and reduce the number of crimes carrying the death penalty;
  • To immediately release all political prisoners held and those held for peaceful expression or religious beliefs; To guarantee the right of family visits to those in detention and ensure access to lawyers for all defendants at all stages of legal proceedings;
  • To revise national security laws used to supress universal rights and to ensure that the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedures Code were consistent with international human rights standards;
  • To effectively combat discrimination against women and girls, including by enacting appropriate legislation, and lift its reservations to the CERD;
  • To increase efforts to raise awareness among the population about gender equality and the non-discrimination of women and girls; To ensure gender mainstreaming and enhance participation of women in decision-making bodies;
  • To intensify the fight against child prostitution, trafficking and sexual exploitation in line with its Action Plan;
  • To extend a standing invitation to all Special Procedures and strengthen cooperation with human rights mechanisms;
  • To consider establishing a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the CAT, the OPCAT, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the Rome Statute of the ICC, the 3rd OP to the CRC, the 1st and 2nd OPs to the ICCPR, the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, the OP to the ICESCR, and ILO conventions 189 (domestic workers), 29 (forced work), and 138 (child labour).  

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Viet Nam is scheduled to take place on Friday, 7 February 2014

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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