11 November 2014
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today concluded its consideration of the combined fourth to sixth periodic report of Viet Nam on how that country implements the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Nguyen Chi Dung, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, presenting the report, said that the Vietnamese Government always considered people the goal, heart and engine of development and therefore remained committed to the goal of sustainable economic development in conjunction with social security and environmental protection. In 2013, the National Assembly had adopted a new constitution, marking meaningful progress toward better assurance of human rights as well as the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of citizens. Many important laws had been promulgated and amended, including those related to economic, social and cultural rights.
During the interactive dialogue Committee Experts asked, among others, about difficulties in submitting the report; definition of the poverty line; indigenous persons in Viet Nam and self-determination; the impact of corruption on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and how were human rights defenders being protected if they were engaged in denouncing corruption; access to education; social security; healthcare; unemployment and vocational training; persons with disabilities; traditional customs; and formalization of the informal sector.
In concluding remarks, Mr. Chi Dung said there had been a candid, open and constructive discussion on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in Viet Nam. Ensuring all human rights in general and economic, social and cultural rights in particular was the aspiration of the entire population. Achievements made, as presented, were testimony to Viet Nam’s determination and political will. Despite these, there was awareness of remaining challenges to be dealt with.
Nicolaas Schrijver, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for the report of Viet Nam, in concluding remarks, expressed appreciation for the dialogue, which was very interesting and valuable. There had been an enormous reduction of poverty and the intensive legislative activities were impressive. However, there were some concerns. It was very important to have a fully equipped judiciary. It was hoped that the people in remote areas would really be reached. One recommendation would be to give more space to civil society.
Zdzislaw Kedzia, Chairperson of the Committee, in concluding remarks, thanked the delegation for its very constructive attitude to the dialogue. The impressive composition of the delegation was very much appreciated, including highly professional representatives of all relevant branches of the Government, as was the highly informed responses.
The delegation of Viet Nam included representatives of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Public Security, National Centre for Interpretation and Translation, and the Permanent Observer Mission of Viet Nam to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The Committee will resume its meeting this afternoon, at 3 p.m., to begin consideration of the fourth periodic report of Portugal (E/C.12/PRT/4).
The Committee is considering the combined fourth to sixth periodic report of Viet Nam (E/C.12/VNM/2-4).
Presentation of the Report
NGUYEN CHI DUNG, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, presenting the report, said that it outlined all the achievements, challenges and efforts of the Government in promoting economic, social and cultural rights in Viet Nam during the 1993-2008 period. Viet Nam would also touch on the achievements made regarding economic, social and cultural aspects from 2009 until now. Viet Nam had conducted the Universal Periodic Review in February 2014 and accepted 182 out of 227 recommendations, including all 65 recommendations related to the economic, social and cultural rights of vulnerable groups such as women, children, people with disabilities, and minorities, amongst others. The accepted Universal Periodic Review recommendations formed the basis for Viet Nam to identify priorities in policy development and resource allocation to better ensure the fundamental rights and freedoms of its people.
The Vietnamese Government always considered people the goal, heart and engine of development and therefore remained committed to the goal of sustainable economic development in conjunction with social security and environmental protection. These three major pillars had to be harmoniously promoted in the Socio-Economic Development Strategy of Viet Nam. In 2013, the National Assembly had adopted a new constitution, marking meaningful progress toward better assurance of human rights as well as the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of citizens.
Since 2009, many important laws had been promulgated and amended, including those related to economic, social and cultural rights, such as the Land Law, Trade Union Law, Law on Dissemination and Education of the Legislation, Law on People with Disabilities, Publication Law, and Public Investment Law. The Government had also approved and implemented 41 national strategies and target programmes on socio-economic development with priorities given to disadvantaged groups in society. Viet Nam had completed its Socio-Economic Development Strategy for the 2001-2010 period, which had helped the country to escape the under-developed country status and join the middle-income country group. Currently, Viet Nam was implementing the Socio-Economic Development Strategy for the 2011-2020 period with a view to becoming a modern-oriented industrial country by 2020.
In recent years, Viet Nam’s economy had suffered from the impact of the global economic recession. However, the Government still gave high attention and priority to ensuring social security and improving people’s living conditions and quality, especially disadvantaged groups. Support policies for the poor and minorities had always been implemented in a consistent manner. By the end of 2012, 19,000 poor households had received housing assistance. On job creation, the 2012 Labour Code laid an important legal platform for ensuring fair and equal employment opportunities and conditions for all. In terms of education, training, science and technology, Viet Nam had accomplished the goal of universal primary education and universal lower secondary education quite early on. It was now aiming at higher goals such as universal secondary education.
With regards to healthcare, encouraging results had been made, with constant and active development of the system, particularly in remote and minority-populated areas. High priority was also given to maternal and child care. In order to preserve and promote minority cultural identity, the Government had approved the Plan for the Preservation and Promotion of Minority Cultures until 2020, with special attention to the culture of very small minority groups. Amid the global trend of information technology and freedom of information and speech, popular media had been blossoming in Viet Nam in the recent period.
In 2014, Viet Nam was expected to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention against Torture. It was positively considering the Convention against Enforced Disappearances and the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
Viet Nam remained committed to building on achievements and overcoming all challenges to promote the realization of economic, social and cultural rights as provided in the International Covenant. It would join countries around the world in realizing the Millennium Development Goals while actively working with United Nations organizations and member countries to develop a post-2015 development agenda that accommodated the specific conditions of each country.
Questions by Experts
NICOLAAS SCHRIJVER, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Viet Nam, thanked the delegation for the extensive report and rather speedy delivery of replies to the list of issues, submitted in June last year by the Committee. Submission of the report itself had not been so speedy. Could the kind of difficulties experienced in submitting the report be shared? It was pleasing to note that Viet Nam was now graduating from a low income if not least developed country, towards a middle income country in terms of the World Bank. However, there were many challenges, in particular from the perspective of the rights contained in the International Covenant. Was the poverty line defined with economic, social and cultural rights as a point of reference? On the application of the rights contained in the Covenant and references to the Covenant, it had been reported that these could not really be found as the rights had been incorporated into law. There were reports that this was not so, including on labour, water, housing and cultural rights. There was concern about a lack of control mechanisms and that there was no national human rights institution that met the Paris Principles. Was there really freedom, equality and justice for the Vietnamese? Concerning the right to strike, it was noted that there were restrictions to this right. On what legal grounds was this right restricted?
An Expert noted that the report said that there were 54 ethnic minorities in Viet Nam and that there were no indigenous peoples. How were Khmer people classified as an ethnic minority, when they themselves wished to be recognized as indigenous people? There should be more specific laws that defined, prohibited, punished and provided redress for discrimination on any ground. Was there any willingness to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? On the issue of equality of men and women and the new law on gender equality, was there a process of legal review of existing laws relating to discrimination against women?
How, in judicial practice, was it ensured that the rights of all citizens could be guaranteed? Another Expert asked about the reservation made by Viet Nam when it ratified the Covenant in 1982. It was encouraging to note that the Government had replied that it was willing to continue reviewing its declaration and reservations. Had the authorities already begun a review of the reservation and how soon could a decision be expected?
On non-discrimination, an Expert asked what the general framework of the law was. In terms of lack of civil society space, the constitution identified a number of social and political organizations created on a voluntary basis. What kind of a consultation was conducted in preparing this report? Provisions of the Covenant had been integrated into the Constitution and into law, but implementation and invocation in the courts was rare. Why was that so, asked an Expert? Was it because judges were not sufficiently well informed or because the victims did not know enough about the Covenant? An Expert wished for more statistical information on the amount of public spending on different areas. What was the delegation’s assessment of the impact of corruption on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and how were human rights defenders being protected if they were engaged in denouncing corruption, enquired another Expert?
The fact that the control of labour accidents and occupational diseases was still limited had to be noted. An Expert asked whether workers were independently able to form trade unions. Another Expert noted that there were relatively low unemployment rates for the time being. What was being done to combat underemployment, specifically in rural areas? When talking about women in the informal sector, it appeared that there was a problem in accessing vocational training. On social security, was there any idea about what had been accomplished and what the obstacles were? Regarding health insurance, the Special Rapporteur on health had mentioned that there was an increase in vulnerable groups’ access to care but still physical and economic accessibility challenges.
It had been indicated, noted an Expert, that the challenge of youth unemployment was in a way aggravated by the fact that nearly 80 per cent of unemployed youth were untrained for the labour market. There were vocational training centres as mentioned by the delegation. If the bulk of these young people were untrained and the vocational training system was in place, then something was wrong. Could fresh figures be given on the extent of the informal sector? Were there any specific goals and mechanisms to try to gradually regularize the informal sector?
With regards to persons with disabilities, could more specific information be given? What were the quotas for employing persons with disabilities? Did they apply to both the private and public sector? What was the trend in the employment figures for persons with disabilities?
Response by the Delegation
The commitment of Viet Nam to the Covenant demonstrated the serious responsibility to actualize the content of the Covenant in reality, which was also the demand of the Vietnamese people. Viet Nam was designing and building up strong mechanisms for law enforcement. On the Law on Education and Dissemination of Legislation, in 2013 this law provided the platform for the provision of information and launch of communications to raise awareness of legislation and international commitments. Equality among ethnic minorities was a key pillar. There was no discrimination against big or small ethnic minorities. The National Committee on Ethnic Minorities Affairs had been established and was, in charge of proposals and submitting draft laws to the National Assembly.
Viet Nam had ratified the Convention on Anti-Corruption and promulgated legal measures and Government plans from now until 2020. Corruption in Viet Nam had different implications, impacting on people’s economic, social and cultural rights. It had direct implications on public sector affairs and affected the number as well as quality of public services and, ultimately, the socio-economic development of the country. On social security, ensuring social security was one of the priorities of Viet Nam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy. Public spending on social security was fairly high. On the use and management of Official Development Assistance, there were clear regulations on its use.
It was affirmed that the Constitution emphasized that all citizens had the right to select their own employment, workplace and were guaranteed comfortable working conditions. On hygienic working conditions, the rights and obligations of employers had been clearly established. There was also regulation on safety of devices and equipment. On the independence of the court system, the constitution provided that the court had an independent role and could only comply with the procedures of the judicial system in Viet Nam. The court system was independent.
Viet Nam was willing to continue to review its declarations and reservations on treaties. On the establishment of a human rights institution, it would be a long process and the situation of the country should be taken into consideration. Regarding indigenous peoples, they were among the most vulnerable in the society and the goal was to promote and protect their rights. Viet Nam complied with international practices and commitments to remove all forms of discrimination against indigenous peoples. There were no indigenous peoples in the history of the country, as they were an inseparable part of the development of Viet Nam. As a rule of law country, all were equal before the law. Freedoms had to comply with law and not generate conflicts.
Follow-up Questions by Experts
NICOLAAS SCHRIJVER, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Viet Nam, wished to have more information on the issue of the independence of the judiciary. To what extent were judges trained to be independent, and to what extent were human rights an integral part of professional formation? Was there a problem of corruption among the judiciary?
An Expert did not feel there had been an answer to the question regarding whether there was specific legislation for the prohibition and punishment of discrimination as well as reparations. If it was not so, this was suggested. On lack of space for civil society, what process of consultation was taken during preparation of the report, an Expert again asked? More information was asked about corruption cases.
Response by the Delegation
On the independence of the judiciary in Viet Nam and guaranteeing the independence of the judicial system and the training of judges, there were training schools for judges and many training courses and syllabi had been set up. Judges were required to be Vietnamese citizens, to have a sense of responsibility, sincerity, the qualifications according to the law, and the ability and health conditions to conduct their work. With regards to anti-corruption, the adverse impact of corruption was felt in all aspects of life and development of the country.
On anti-discrimination efforts and whether a specific law on anti-discrimination should be developed, there was no separate law but it was provided for in the Constitution and many legal documents. The necessity for developing a separate legal document was not seen. On discrimination against women, Viet Nam had ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and had tried to protect their rights. Regarding lack of space for civil society space, there were hundreds of civil society organizations operating across the country. Civil society organizations had an enormous space to work in all aspects of life. On consultation in preparation for the report, this was conducted before the submission of the report in accordance with the recommendations and guidelines of the Human Rights Council and the Committee. On the definition of indigenous people, it was reaffirmed that there were no indigenous people in Viet Nam so there was no need to set up the concept.
Questions by Experts
What was the percentage or number of Vietnamese women that married outside of Viet Nam, asked an Expert? By Vietnamese law, marriage brokerage was illegal but there were marriage brokers that exploited women. How was this being addressed? There was information of a lot of land grabbing happening because of land development projects. What were the measures in place to protect widows so that they did not lose the right to land? On health, what measures were there to reach populations living in rural and remote areas? What was the plan to provide sexual and reproductive health services to women in these areas? On Article 10 and the problem of families, paragraph 280 of the report provided that there was a draft national programme in place for 2011-2020, noted an Expert. Had this programme had any success and what impact had it had in fighting domestic violence?
Concerning agriculture and food security, it was known that during the war a third of the country was polluted by chemical weapons, an Expert pointed out. Had the consequences of the war been overcome or did they continue to cause a problem today? Another Expert asked whether Viet Nam would consider increasing social benefits as it was currently not sufficient to ensure an adequate standard of living of marginalized and vulnerable groups. What were the criteria for access to social housing? What remedial steps were being taken to address the persistent problem of the widespread dispossession or confiscation by State authorities of agricultural lands? Viet Nam was one of the most successful countries in the world in terms of the Millennium Development Goals and wider economic achievements and poverty reduction over the last 20 years, but success remained uneven across different regions of the country. Was there a goal or strategy to address this, asked an Expert?
NICOLAAS SCHRIJVER, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Viet Nam, raised the reported widespread practise of corporal punishment of children and asked about the official view of the Government on this practice and what kind of measures had been taken or were being contemplated?
An Expert inquired whether the Government applied a taxation policy that would in a way lead to the redistribution of the national income. On effects of measures taken to improve access to education for children, what results had been seen? What results had the strategy on access to clean water had? On the affirmation that there were no indigenous peoples as such, an Expert wished to know whether Viet Nam recognized and applied the principle of self-identification. Could further information be provided on the protection of traditional knowledge of the many peoples living in Viet Nam?
There had been little mention of free access to the internet, noted an Expert, and steps had to be taken to achieve the full realization of this right. What was the Government doing to facilitate access to the internet by disadvantaged and marginalized groups living in remote areas?
Response by the Delegation
The Labour Code of Viet Nam had a standalone chapter on hygiene and sanitation in the workplace, stipulating clearly the rights and duties of employers and employees to ensure compliance with safety and comfortable working conditions. Periodical medical check-ups for workers were in place. The retirement age for women was 55 years and 60 years old for men.
Unemployment in Viet Nam was relatively low. There was unemployment mostly in rural areas. Policies were put in place to increase vocational training for farmers and other persons in rural areas, with special attention paid to women. On youth employment, the State had established a strategy on vocational training for young people in rural areas, also focusing on how to provide them with the best skills. Some shortcomings and challenges were acknowledged, and more efforts were being made.
On persons with disabilities, the Government this month was submitting a proposal for consideration by the National Assembly to officially approve the Convention on Persons with Disabilities, signed in 2007. Close attention was paid to the concepts and the contents of the Convention. If a company accepted a quota of 30 per cent of total labour for persons with disabilities, they would enjoy certain incentives.
Regarding healthcare, including for disadvantaged persons, policies that had been recently implemented had shown significant results. The Ministry of Health was looking at the amendment of laws related to the provision of health services. Measures to develop and improve facilities at the local level were being developed. The Government believed that investment in healthcare was important for development and that was why it consistently increased budget spending on this. Further assistance was provided for minorities and persons living in rural areas when they came to district hospitals and they were provided with money for their transportation. Allowances were also provided for physicians and nurses working in remote areas.
Concerning the informal sector, there were currently about 4.6 million business facilities which were not registered under the names of companies or enterprises. The labour contract was not as good as in the formal sector. Guaranteeing the rights of workers and employees was important to the Government. A series of policies had been implemented to formalize the informal sector, such as the creation of microcredit financial resources for small and medium enterprises, to encourage them to register officially.
Follow-up Questions by Experts
An Expert asked to what extent policy makers were aware of treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? Had they been privy to the general comments of the Committee? Under the Universal Periodic Review, 68 recommendations out of 182 were accepted, related to economic, social and cultural rights. Had recommendations accepted related to labour rights and the right to health? To what extent were there problems in relation to migrant workers?
For policies to be more and more effective, important and updated statistical data would be required. Did the national data collection system in Viet Nam make an effort to collect disaggregated data on persons with disabilities and their employment, inquired another Expert?
Response by the Delegation
Regarding the International Labour Organization, Viet Nam was an active member. The Government took the issue of migrant workers very seriously. From 2012 to 2020 Viet Nam was going to negotiate and sign the Convention on the Rights of Migrants Workers and Their Families. Now it was in the process of learning from lessons and experiences of others. On foreign workers and employees working in Viet Nam, they were fully protected by Vietnamese law. Viet Nam had also signed a series of bilateral agreements.
Concerning employment for persons with disabilities, over the years enormous efforts had been exerted to protect and promote the rights of these persons. The law ensured their access to affordable housing and access to public services and facilities. On statistics on persons with disabilities, very professional indicators had been developed. The communal authorities were tasked with compiling statistics at the communal level.
Regarding land acquisition for economic development, high priority was paid to vocational training for local persons after land acquisition. Women and men were equal before the law regarding economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to ownership of housing and property. This had been qualified in the laws of Viet Nam. It was clear that the right to land use was protected by the Government and there were clear regulations on compensation.
The rationale and basis for the different retirement ages for women and men in Viet Nam was historical. Women in Viet Nam customarily had a lot of work, in addition to family and household chores and giving birth to children. There was now a debate on the change of retirement debate, as some women wished to extend the retired age while others did not.
Questions by Experts
An Expert was happy that there was discussion on changing the retirement age for men and women. It was hoped that the fact that household chores, home management and child rearing should also be shared, would be taken into account.
Response by the Delegation
According to statistics, more than 260,000 Vietnamese women were married to foreign men. Most of them married Taiwanese or Korean men. On counselling on foreign marriage, the law prohibited the counselling and brokerage of marriage for the purposes of human trafficking. The law was trying to make foreign marriages between women and foreign men healthier. Legal services were provided to Vietnamese women, providing also spiritual counselling and knowledge of the foreign country. On the rights of children of such marriages, the law in Viet Nam did not discriminate against them. From birth, children were protected by the laws and conventions to which Viet Nam was signatory.
On the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction, reduction of poverty in Viet Nam was impressive and this had been recognized by the United Nations. The plan for poverty reduction had been implemented over the last 30 years. The Government was now designing post-2015 poverty reduction plans. New benchmarks were set to make comparisons between rural and urban areas.
After five years of implementation of the law against domestic violation through the national action plan and assistance by the international community, results had been achieved with a reduction of the number of cases of domestic violence per year. In terms of prosecution and trial, Viet Nam always sought to punish domestic violence. Regarding corporal punishment against children, measures were established to punish this.
On contamination by chemical weapons used during the war, these had badly affected the fauna and flora, polluting the soil and making the land barren. Many years after the war, the contamination was still a matter to be addressed. Enormous efforts to tackle this were being undertaken. There was no exact estimate for the area of land contaminated. Viet Nam needed help from the international community, including scientists and researchers, to make an exact and comprehensive study on the impact of these chemicals weapons.
An Expert suggested that in the newly established counselling centres for Vietnamese women on marriage, in addition to classes on culture, they should include classes for human rights education and on legal structure of countries. Another Expert enquired how the citizenship rights of children were determined in such cases.
To what extent had forests been damaged by the deployment of chemical weapons recovered? Had the Government approached the issue of criminal accountability for the contamination of these?
Poverty was something so bad that it should be eradicated, not reduced, said an Expert. The challenges were big and the most important thing was to keep the pace of fulfilling economic and social rights in a good manner, comparable to the situation.
Response by the Delegation
Viet Nam had experienced tough and long-lasting wars, with grave consequences in terms of human casualties and the environment. More resources were needed to address the contamination by chemical weapons, which was severely affecting generations of Vietnamese. The international community was called upon to continue assisting Viet Nam in addressing related challenges.
Knowledge of legislation of foreign countries would be incorporated in training for women in the foreign marriage counselling centre. With regards to children born of such marriages, it was restated that there was no kind of discrimination. Eradication of poverty was a mission for all countries in the world. Viet Nam had a different approach to poverty eradication, a long-term one, for which adequate resource were required. More attention was being paid for those near the poverty line.
On impact and results of measures to improve education for children in remote areas, the law on education stipulated that more support would be provided by the Government for children of minorities and children with disabilities, as well as to those of other vulnerable groups. The establishment of primary and boarding schools in struggling areas was supported, as was the reduction of tuition. There were efforts to ensure environmental protection awareness and understanding, including through inclusion in the school curricula. The Government sought to provide training for teachers and researchers.
On the implementation of measures to ensure the right to clean water, high priority was given to this right. A goal was to ensure the quality of water resources, and promote better water management, including in rural areas. A significant portion of the population did not have access to clean water. It was a difficult task but measures were being implemented.
Relating to cultural rights and the perception and viewpoint on developing Vietnamese culture, Viet Nam wished to promote a diverse and rich culture with unity. It was affirmed that all people were equal before of the law in terms of cultural rights. Over the years, due attention had been paid to the promotion and protection of the cultural rights of ethnic minorities.
On free internet access, promotion and protection of this right had been clearly stipulated in the constitution. The Government was working with international organizations and funds to extend access to the internet. No-one was arrested or detained because of free access to the internet in Viet Nam. Some were prosecuted because they triggered social unrest and attempts at terrorist acts.
On Asian values and international conventions, these were always taken into consideration. Traditions and customs of the Vietnamese and ethnic minorities were always taken into account to match with international conventions and law.
An Expert said it was quite difficult to capture the concept of Asian values in this context. Could examples be given? Another Expert added that Asia was such a diverse continent. The only limits to cultural activities were those that clashed with human dignity, added another Expert, so there was concern about efforts to halt certain cultural traditions that were considered obsolete.
NICOLAAS SCHRIJVER, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Viet Nam, asked if more information could be provided on policies and data of the phenomena of absence from school as a result of child labour? There was some concern relating to policies concerning cultural identity. How were minorities involved in preserving their cultures?
An Expert was concerned about freedom of expression. Was it true that the content of blogs and social networks was limited? Was this limited to personal information or was anything more general in nature prohibited? Of course, terrorist activities had to be prosecuted.
Response by the Delegation
Fundamental freedoms of the people of Viet Nam were in accordance with international standards and law. Some may be restricted, provided for in the law to ensure the enjoyment of the rights of the people as well as to ensure national security, order and safety. Information that fostered violence, creation of disparity and hatred among ethnicities and people would be restricted.
On forced child labour, in 2014 a national survey was conducted and published. There were 18.3 million children in Viet Nam and 9.6 per cent of them were working. Almost 86 per cent of children in child labour were in rural areas. Long hours affected their participation in education and some had abandoned school. The Government had taken steps to prohibit and reduce child labour in accordance with international treaties, and to reintroduce these children into school.
The Government only considered the universality and the inter-connectivity of international treaties and covenants and took into account specific conditions in Viet Nam and presentation of its unique cultural identity. It did not take Asian values into account in implementation and realization of human rights. On halting of some obsolete customs, some ethnic minorities left dead persons in the household, sometimes for as long as one year, or left them in the rice fields for good, for example.
NGUYEN CHI DUNG, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, in concluding remarks, said there had been a candid, open and constructive discussion on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in Viet Nam. Ensuring all human rights in general and economic, social and cultural rights in particular were the aspiration of the entire population. The goal was to put together a comprehensive and effective process, with a view to meeting the stipulations of the international conventions and covenants. Achievements made, as presented, were testimony to Viet Nam’s determination and political will. Despite these, there was awareness of remaining challenges to be dealt with. The Government would carefully study the inputs made by the Committee.
NICOLAAS SCHRIJVER, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Viet Nam, in concluding remarks, expressed appreciation for the dialogue, which was very interesting and valuable. There had been an enormous reduction of poverty. The intensive legislative activities were impressive and it was reassuring to hear that the Government aimed to institutionalize all rights contained in the Covenant. However, there were some concerns. It was very important to have a fully equipped judiciary. It was hoped that the people in remote areas would really be reached. One recommendation would be to give more space to civil society.
ZDZISLAW KEDZIA, Committee Chairperson, in concluding remarks, thanked the delegation for its very constructive attitude to the dialogue. The impressive composition of the delegation was very much appreciated, including highly professional representatives of all relevant branches of the Government, as well as the highly informed responses. There was now more awareness of the challenges faced by Viet Nam and it was hoped that the delegation was more aware of the concerns of the Committee.
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