|Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang and Ambassador Lê Thị Tuyết Mai, at the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) from February 27 to April 4 was the first that Việt Nam attended in its capacity as a council member for 2023-2025.
In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Ambassador Lê Thị Tuyết Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Việt Nam to the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organisation and other international organisations in Geneva, said the Vietnamese delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang, had actively participated the session since its beginning.
Speaking after the opening ceremony on February 27, Quang delivered strong messages about Việt Nam's commitment, efforts, and achievements in national development and ensuring human rights.
He called on countries to understand and respect each other's historical, political, cultural, and social characteristics, promote cooperation and dialogue, and comprehensively approach human rights.
He put forward an initiative to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) with a document from the UN General Assembly, aiming to reaffirm and strengthen efforts and actions towards achieving the inclusive goals and values encompassed in the declarations and common international commitments to human rights for all, Mai said.
Following the high-level session, the Vietnamese delegation actively participated in the process of the record-long 52nd session, which lasted more than a month, with a huge workload.
The delegation joined discussions on about 80 reports and informal consultations on 43 draft resolutions, along with meetings looking into the UPR reports of 14 countries and adopting decisions on the appointment of 10 personnel for special procedures.
According to Ambassador Mai, a highlight of Việt Nam’s contributions was the initiative raised by Deputy PM Quang right at the beginning of the session on the UNHRC’s resolution on the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of UDHR and the 30th anniversary of VDPA.
On April 3, the UNHRC adopted the resolution by consensus, with 98 co-sponsoring countries recorded later on the day (Geneva time), including 14 co-authors – Việt Nam, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Fiji, India, Panama, Romania, South Africa and Spain, 34 UNHRC member states, western nations and many developing countries from the five regional groups, most of them from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Apart from Quang’s speech at the high-level session and the above-said initiative, the Vietnamese delegation also contributed opinions in other sessions, such as discussions on ensuring the rights to housing, food, culture and development, children’s rights, and guaranteeing fair, equal and timely access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, among others.
In their remarks, the Vietnamese representatives emphasised the country’s consistent stance, efforts, and achievements in promoting and protecting human rights. They affirmed Việt Nam’s commitment to sustainable development for the sake of its people.
They also stressed the need to address inequalities and protect vulnerable groups, called for the handling of global challenges like climate change, and affirmed Việt Nam’s commitment to enhancing constructive cooperation with countries, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UNHRC.
This will promote and protect human rights for all based on respect for the UN Charter and international human rights treaties and ensure national sovereignty and the principles of objectivity, fairness, dialogue, construction, and cooperation.
Along with other ASEAN countries, the Vietnamese delegation also made remarks on issues of ASEAN’s concern, such as the right to development, technical cooperation, capacity building, and UPR.
Regarding climate change and human rights, which are priorities of Việt Nam and other countries, Việt Nam, Bangladesh and the Philippines – the Core Group on Human Rights and Climate Change, compiled and delivered a joint statement on climate change and human rights at this session, which attracted many co-sponsoring countries.
Moreover, Việt Nam engaged in exchanges, contacts and consultations with other delegations, co-sponsored some initiatives in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue, and fulfilled its role as a member of the UNHRC in consulting and voting on 43 draft resolutions of the council.
Mai explained that Việt Nam's initiative for the UNHRC's resolution aims to commemorate the 75th anniversary of UDHR and the 30th anniversary of VDPA.
The resolution emphasises the importance of these declarations and their main human rights principles. It reflects the wide interest of countries in commemorating these events and improving the position, role, and efficiency of the UNHRC and other human rights mechanisms of the UN.
The resolution also recognises the leading role of countries in ensuring human rights, women's participation, international cooperation and unity, and the importance of respecting diversity and inclusiveness in promoting and protecting human rights.
Overall, the resolution seeks to promote human rights and enhance cooperation with the UNHRC.
The resolution also proposes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights carry out commemorative activities, including a high-level UN event on human rights in December and a report on the celebrations to be submitted to the 56th UNHRC session next year.
Mai called the resolution an outstanding hallmark created by Việt Nam at the first session as a council member for 2023-2025, saying it demonstrates the country’s substantive, responsible contributions to the council’s affairs.
The Vietnamese permanent mission directly drafted, consulted and negotiated the draft resolution after Deputy PM Quang proposed the initiative at the session.
Among the 43 resolutions adopted by the council, some have contentious contents to which many countries and groups of countries proposed adjustments, making them fail to be reached by consensus and forcing the council to conduct voting.
The fact that the resolution proposed and drafted by Việt Nam was adopted by consensus with the co-sponsorship of many countries demonstrates the document’s success in reflecting the common concern and priority of countries and the international community, attracting the response and support of many countries, winning praise from parties.
Việt Nam’s proposal of this resolution is timely, meeting the international community's interest in promoting the UDHR and VDPA, the two important documents on human rights that form the basis of frameworks for international treaties, mechanisms, dialogues and cooperation at the international, regional and national levels on human rights.
The resolution is expected to enhance efforts in realising the goals outlined in the two aforementioned documents which will promote and protect human rights through dialogue, cooperation, mutual respect and understanding.
This is also the result of efforts and innovation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnamese mission in Geneva in proposing the initiative and drafting the resolution, as well as efforts of the Vietnamese delegation in directly consulting, mobilising, and negotiating with other delegations to reach the consensus on the draft resolution whose content harmonises concern of countries, in the context of countries and groups of countries showing different views on specific human rights issues.
In addition, Vietnamese representative offices abroad have also played a role in mobilising the support of countries for the resolution, the ambassador said.
Việt Nam’s proposal, drafting, and negotiation of this resolution not only embodies its responsibility, efforts, and priorities as a UNHRC member for the 2023-2025 term, but also realises the country’s foreign policy of actively, proactively and responsibly participating in addressing the common concern of the international community. — VNS