HA NOI (VNS)— Public involvement in law making and constitutional processes must be strongly promoted to ensure the needs and aspirations of the people are being met, according to Nicholas Booth, policy advisor on rule of law and access to justice for the United Nations' Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam.
Booth was speaking at a workshop held yesterday in Ha Noi by a network of Vietnamese non-government organisations to mark World Human Rights Day, and his view was shared by many experts in attendance.
Booth said that the Government's decision to allow public consultation on amendments to the Constitution - which will take place in sessions between January and March next year - is an important step in the promotion of public participation in law-making.
He argued that the public must be better educated about the Constitution and its importance in order to create a culture of public participation in governance.
Dr Nguyen Dang Dung, an expert in constitutional law from Ha Noi National University's School of Law said everyone must be aware of their own legal rights in order to protect themselves.
Dr. Hoang Van Nghia from the Institute of Human Rights said that the process of people realising their human rights was gradual but essential, and called for all to work towards this goal.
Experts praised the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, which was passed last month, as an encouraging step in promoting human rights in ASEAN countries. The declaration was said to serve as the basis for the production of future law-binding conventions.
The theme of this year's International Human Rights Day is "My Voice Counts", indicating the rights of all people to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making. — VNS