Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh delivered a speech
affirming the Vietnamese Government’s consistent policy of ensuring
human rights at the High-level Segment of the 22nd Session of the
UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 25.
Following is the full text of his speech.
Let me first express the Vietnamese Delegation’s appreciation to you
and the Bureau for your contributions to the work of the Council. I am
confident that under your stewardship, this 22 nd Session of the
Council will be crowned with success. Please rest assured of our full
cooperation and support. I would like to commend the leadership of the
High Commissioner and dedication of her staff in accomplishing the
We are gathering here at
an auspicious moment, as we celebrate the 65 th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 20th anniversary of the
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. Sixty-five years have passed
since the world came to the shared understanding of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, as reflected in the Universal Declaration and the
many treaties that followed.
Over these years, we have made
unprecedented progress in our joint efforts to respect and promote human
value and dignity, and human rights have topped the development agenda
of many countries and the international community. Yet, formidable
challenges remain in all corners of the world. Current global economic
difficulties, including the public debt crisis, unemployment, monetary
austerity and budget cuts, are having adverse impacts on the enjoyment
of human rights and fundamental freedoms of people in most countries.
Poverty, food security, malnutrition, epidemic, illiteracy and
environmental degradation continue to take their toll, first and
foremost on women, children, the poor, the elderly, persons with
disabilities, migrants and minority groups.
economic, political and social instability, civil wars, religious and
ethnic conflicts, discrimination, intolerance, increasing violence and
hatred are threatening the people’s rights and fundamental freedoms and
undermining peace, security and development in each region and the
world. Vietnam welcomes and supports national and international
efforts aimed at early reaching political solutions to end violence and
uphold international human rights norms, especially the right to life,
to peace and security. We once again emphasize that this is the primary
responsibility of the national governments concerned.
Since its establishment seven years ago, as one of the three major
pillars of the United Nations, the Human Rights Council has been an
effective mechanism to protect and promote human rights around the
world. The Council has adopted a holistic and balanced approach towards
all human rights, including both civil and political rights and
economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the specific rights of
vulnerable groups, and thus helped deepen public awareness of human
rights. The culture of dialogue, cooperation and consensus has solidly
developed within the Council. The number of resolutions adopted by
consensus has increased and their implementation becomes more effective.
Vietnam particularly values the Universal Periodic Review (UPR),
which has proven to be an effective avenue for the sharing of
information and experience, promotion of mutual understanding, and for
the better protection and promotion of human rights.
Vietnam believes that for it to become the core UN body in the field
of human rights, the Council needs to expand its resources, raise its
effectiveness and achieve proper solutions to the multi-dimensional
challenges of human rights that have greatly attracted people’s
interest. The Human Rights Council should be a forum that genuinely
fosters cooperation and dialogue among Member States and promotes a
balanced and holistic approach based on the principle of universality,
transparency, objectivity, and impartiality in all of its activities, as
stated in GA Resolution 60/251 and the 2011 outcomes of the Council
review process. I take this opportunity to reiterate Vietnam ’s
commitment to actively working with and contributing to the common
efforts of the Council and all Member States .
Vietnam’s consistent policy is to respect and ensure human
rights in accordance with international norms. It is enshrined in our
Constitution that “political, civil, economic, social and cultural
rights are respected and protected by the Constitution and the law”.
This policy is based on our understanding that human rights are
universal values forged through many generations and takes root in our
millennium-long history and culture. Vietnam ’s respect for human
rights also derives from the cherished aspiration of a nation that was
deprived of their fundamental rights under colonial rule.
Over the past years, human rights and fundamental freedoms have been
better ensured in Vietnam . Poverty has been reduced from 14.2percent
in 2010 to 12.4percent in 2012. Social welfare and access to healthcare
have been improved. Vietnam has achieved many Millennium
Development Goals ahead of schedule. Civil and political rights have
also been better observed by ensuring the people’s effective exercise of
their right to nomination and election as well as by strengthening the
role of elected bodies in the political system. The right to freedom of
expression, access to information and freedom of the press have been
better guaranteed and duly implemented in practice, which is evident in
the rapid development of the media in Vietnam . Religions and beliefs
continue to grow strongly, including major world religions, as well as
home-grown religions and beliefs.
In pursuit of the foreign
policy of independence and sovereignty, active and comprehensive
international integration, Vietnam has been engaging in and making
constructive and responsible contributions to international affairs,
including in the field of human rights. Vietnam is a party to most
important human rights treaties and is taking final steps to ratify the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to accede to
the Convention against Torture. As we place special importance on the
UPR process, we accepted and have been implementing accepted
recommendations of the first cycle of UPR. Vietnam has also
strengthened dialogues with Special Procedures. Since July 2010, we have
received four Special Procedures on minority issues, extreme poverty,
the effects of foreign debt, and the right to health. Vietnam will
in the near future receive the Special Procedures on the rights to
education, food, and culture and continue to consider receiving other
Special Procedures as committed.
Vietnam has also been
expanding bilateral cooperation and dialogue on human rights with a
number of countries to share information and experience for better human
rights protection. We have annual human rights dialogues with many
countries around the world. Within the ASEAN framework, we have been
part of the efforts to promote human rights cooperation, particularly
the establishment and operationalization of the ASEAN Inter-Government
Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the development of the ASEAN
Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted at the ASEAN Summit in
Phnom Penh last November.
That said, Vietnam is still a
developing country facing the lingering impacts of wars, the current
effects of economic difficulties and striving to build a State ruled by
law. Vietnam , therefore, has to deal with many challenges in the
field of human rights and is poised to work even harder in order to
protect people’s economic, social, civil and political rights.
Wishing to make greater contributions to the joint efforts of the
Council and the international community in promoting and better
protecting human rights, the Vietnamese Government has presented its
candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council for the term of 2014-2016.
Vietnam has presented its voluntary pledges as required by the GA
Resolution 60/251. Vietnam shares the broad view that first-time
candidates with the capacity to contribute to the work of the Council,
like Vietnam , should be offered the opportunity to be member of the
Council. Vietnam is committed to active, constructive and
responsible participation in the work of the Council with the aim of
enhancing its effectiveness, transparency, impartiality, balance, and
promoting dialogues and cooperation among Member States on human