The Vietnam News Agency had an interview with UN Resident Co-ordinator in Viet Nam Pratibha Mehta on the issue of human rights. Below are some excerpts from the interview:
"We would like to congratulate Viet Nam for completing its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the fifth of February and I think it was a good process. The UPR is a very important instrument for any country, including Viet Nam, to have an inclusive dialogue on human rights and the protection of human rights in the country.
In general, Viet Nam has done very well on gender equality, but there is a lot more that needs to be done. The very positive steps that the country has taken in terms of adopting a number of policies and strategies to promote gender equality are highly recommendable.
However, we do see a high increase in domestic violence against women. From the recent study, it seems that almost six out of 10 married women are subjected to domestic violence, so this is quite serious.
Also, there are instances of violence against women in workplaces, meaning sexual harassment and violation in the workplace. More research needs to be done to understand these phenomena better and to address the issue of sexual harassment in workplaces.
Viet Nam has done quite well in protecting the rights of children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child reporting is always on time. But again, there are issues that need to be looked at, not just within the CRC framework but also looking at child development.
For example, there are many incidents of malnutrition and stunting. Viet Nam is a middle-income country with a very high level of stunting among children. This is quite worrisome, because if the children are malnourished, then their overall development suffers. The stunting is quite high in ethnic minority, remote and rural areas. This is a real cause of concern.
I think child protection is high on Viet Nam's agenda, but more needs to be done to provide opportunities for children from ethnic minority areas to study in their own native languages so they can do well in school, complete their basic schooling and go for higher education. It is extremely important that children of ethnic minorities have the right to languages — a very important part of their cultural identity.
We very much appreciate the inclusiveness and I think it should be expanded further, because ultimate rights affect people and people should be involved in the process.
Consultation and participation are very important. Promoting capacity development at the provincial level to protect and promote human rights is extremely important in Viet Nam because it is a decentralised country and provincial governments have a lot of authority here.
It is extremely important that the governance at provincial levels is exposed and their capacity is built around rights, including in the law enforcement and judicial system. Their capacity (not only at the national level but at the provincial level) has to be enhanced so that they can operate within the human rights framework at all levels.
So I would say that Viet Nam needs to continue to remain open and continue to involve civil society organisations, as well as continue to have a consultative process, much more vigorous, robust information sharing, human rights education and awareness and capacity development at all levels of law enforcement, the judicial system and service delivery agencies and organisations." — VNS