GENEVA 29/2—"Việt Nam remains strong on its commitments to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights for its people," said Deputy Foreign Minister Lê Lương Minh yesterday at the current 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).
At the four-week session that will last until March 23, Minh said in implementing people-centred and pro-poor development policies, Việt Nam continued to invest in areas that matter the most to the people. These policies had enabled the country to achieve remarkable progress in poverty reduction, education, healthcare and employment, improving the livelihood and social welfare for its citizens. In the context of great difficulties resulting from the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, over the past four years, the country had managed to maintain an annual economic growth rate of about 6 per cent which has provided a strong basis for the enjoyment of human rights for the people. Legislative, administrative and judicial reforms continued to be high on the agenda with a view to further strengthening human rights in laws, regulations and practice, including the right to oversee the implementation of laws, access to information, etc. Socio-economic development, assurance of social equity and building a law-governed state remained the three pillars of Việt Nam's development strategy.
As part of the foreign policy aiming to serve its major objective of comprehensive integration, Việt Nam had been engaging in human rights dialogue and co-operation with international partners. At a regional level, the country was working with the other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote the activities of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), particularly in drafting an ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights. Last year, Việt Nam received the Independent Expert title on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and the Special Raporteur title on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The country is expecting to receive the Special Raporteur on the right to food and the Special Raporteur on the right to education. Việt Nam believed such interaction together with the regular dialogues the country was conducting with other nations contributed effectively to the betterment of mutual understanding which was essential for any appropriate solution of human rights issues of mutual concern.
Minh said the protection and promotion of human rights was the responsibility of all countries. While upholding the purposes and objectives enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and as a candidate endorsed by ASEAN for membership on the Human Rights Council for the term 2014-2016, Việt Nam was committed to working with the international community to build a world which would be more secure, more prosperous and more just for everyone.
Speaking about the world situation, Minh said the global economic and financial crisis had been causing serious consequences in every aspect of life for the people of almost every nation. Political and social instabilities had yet to abate, but had shown a trend to increase and widen in a number of regions, leading to crises and internal conflicts.
The turbulent and violent situations in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa had brought home the fact that the promotion and protection of human rights could only be sustainably implemented on the foundation of peace, stability and development. While happy to note that peace and normalcy had been restored in other affected countries, Việt Nam was deeply concerned with the escalation of tension and violence in Syria resulting in the loss of so many innocent lives. Việt Nam called upon all parties concerned to show goodwill, demonstrate constraint and conduct constructive dialogue to find a prompt political solution in line with the aspirations of the Syrian people. Việt Nam supported all international efforts aimed at contributing to national reconciliation and restoring peace and stability in Syria, and shared the view that any solution to the present situation in Syria had to be based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, particularly the principles of respect for national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-coercion and non-interference.
Human Rights Council forum
Minh said: "As a supreme organ of the United Nations established to replace a body having lost its legitimacy for the outdated manner it conducted its work, the Human Rights Council must truly be a forum to promote co-operation and dialogue among nations on the basis of the principles of transparency, democracy, objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity, avoiding the application of double standards.
"The Council must manage to avoid the very major mistake leading to the failure of its predecessor, which is the politicization of human rights issues. Furthermore, the root causes of the recent and ongoing turbulent situations in developing countries point to the need for the Council to assure a balanced implementation of economic, cultural social rights and political rights.
"We note with satisfaction that over the past few years, the Council has proved itself more effective, serving as a forum of dialogue and co-operation for all countries in dealing with all human rights issues in a comprehensive and more balanced manner and on the basis of equality. We would support efforts aimed at strengthening the Universal Periodic Review mechanism which is based on the principle of equal treatment of all member states. Last year, the General Assembly completed a review of the Council's work and functioning by adopting resolution A/65/L.78 supplementing resolution 60/251 in further strengthening the Council and improving its effectiveness. Việt Nam will continue to engage itself in a constructive manner with other countries in the implementation of these two important resolutions," Minh concluded.—VNS