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Country achieves human rights progress since 1945

Update: December, 10/2015 - 08:29
This is a remarkable achievement, and now the national poverty rate has plummeted to merely 4.8 per cent from as high as 60 per cent in the 90s, said Tan. — VNA/VNS Photo Do Binh

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam has made great progress in ensuring human rights since the Vietnamese Government was established 70 years ago, with the first and foremost establishments being gaining independence for the country and freedom for the Vietnamese people.

"The country has spent almost 40 years at war over the last seven decades, but is finally living in a state of peace and development," director of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Ta Ngoc Tan, told Viet Nam News on the sidelines of a conference on the country's human rights record held yesterday in Ha Noi.

This is a remarkable achievement, and now the national poverty rate has plummeted to merely 4.8 per cent from as high as 60 per cent in the 90s, said Tan.

"The people's right to an adequate standard of living is also a very basic human right that Viet Nam has accomplished," he said.

Viet Nam was deemed by the United Nations one of the most successful countries in the world in realising the poverty eradication goal, the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) out of the eight set by the UN.

Ethnicity policies

Apart from poverty reduction, other human rights are also regulated in the amended 2013 Constitution, covering all aspects of life and aimed at all peoples, including children, the elderly, the vulnerable and ethnic minorities, Tan said.

Regarding efforts to promote human rights among Vietnamese ethnic minorities, National Assembly (NA) Ethnic Council Deputy Chaiman Phan Van Hung said 264 laws had been issued on ethnic policies.

Hung also reported that the Government had spent VND135 trillion (US$6 billion) in the last five years on ethnic policies, while at the same time, encouraging ethnic minorities to participate more in national political life via their presence at the NA.

Ethnic NA deputies account for about 16 per cent of the assembly, he said, two per cent higher than the country's ethnic population.

This was a huge achievement, but issues still needed to be tackled in the future. One of which was the lack of a Law on Ethnicity, Hung said.

"Investment in ethnic policies are still scattered, together with a shortage of ethic officials in mountainous areas, especially in the Central Highlands," he said.

"Another problem is the poverty rate among ethnic people because at least 50 per cent of poor households nationwide are ethnic minority families."

International treaties

Viet Nam has signed and ratified seven out of the nine core UN human rights treaties, including the convention on the rights of the child, of which the country was the first nation in Asia and second in the world to sign, together with the two latest conventions signed on the rights of persons with disabilities and the prohibition of torture.

The country has also joined a handful of other human rights treaties under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Geneva Conventions.

"Viet Nam will also join the two remaining UN principle human rights treaties: the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance," said the Government's Steering Committee for Human Rights Chief of Staff, Major General Nguyen Thanh Son.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Rule of Law Policy Advisor Scott Ciment hailed Viet Nam's ratification of seven UN human rights treaties as a "significant milestone".

"Recent changes to the penal code, the criminal procedure code, the civil code and others are very important steps towards progress," he said.

He also warned that Viet Nam might face its biggest challenge of bringing those legal changes into reality, as they did not "automatically change what happens on the ground". — VNS

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