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NA debates new law on civil associations

Update: September, 25/2015 - 10:17
Vice Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Uong Chu Luu speaks at the meeting. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Hoa

HA NOI (VNS) — Members of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee discussed the draft Law on Associations during the committee's ongoing 41st sitting yesterday.

A report on the draft law stressed that the right to establish associations is one of the fundamental rights of citizens provided by the Constitution.

During specific periods of history, the Party issued appropriate guidelines and documents relating to civil associations, guaranteeing the Party's leadership and the State's management over these bodies.

A number of associations have actively contributed to national protection and socio-economic development while ensuring their members' legitimate rights and interests.

The report also pointed to shortcomings in existing legal regulations on associations in comparison with the Constitution's related content and the country's international integration.

The draft law, comprising eight chapters and 38 articles, demonstrates the State's viewpoint on ensuring and creating favourable conditions for citizens to practice their right to establish associations in line with the Constitution, completing the related legal system and enhancing the State's management over associations, the report added.

Some members of the NA Standing Committee emphasised that the new law must ensure citizens' abilities to exercise their rights while also allowing associations to practice self-management and independence. The law must also prevent hostile forces from forming opposition organisations to sabotage the Party and State, which would violate political security, social order and safety.

Term 2 of Article 1 in the bill stipulates that the law is not applicable to the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, Vietnamese Trade Unions, Viet Nam Farmers' Union, Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, Viet Nam Women's Union and Vietnam War Veterans' Association.

Many participants in support of Term 2 said those are special social-political organisations tasked with important political missions. Their leading personnel are appointed by the Party, and their operations are ensured by the State. Some have already been subjected to specific laws and ordinances such as the Law on the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, the Law on Trade Union and the Ordinance on War Veterans.

Ksor Phuoc, Chairman of the NA's Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, said the draft law should cover only voluntary organisations for Vietnamese citizens and corporations as stipulated in Term 1 of Article 2.

Others related to foreigners should be subject to a different law or ordinance, he said, adding that this is a real demand amidst Viet Nam's strong integration into the region and world. He also pointed to the growing relationship with a number of international organisations.

Vice Chairman of the NA's Committee for Judicial Affairs Nguyen Dinh Quyen agreed with Chairman Phuoc and attendees on the importance of Article 36, which states that foreigners legally residing and working in Viet Nam are allowed to join associations under certain circumstances as stipulated by the Government.

Some participants said the foundation of foreign associations in Viet Nam needs to be thoroughly vetted.

In the afternoon, members of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee also discussed regulations and measures to enhance the effectiveness of future NA meetings.

In an effort to enhance the NA deputy's accountability and responsibility, deputies urged the committee to issue regulations to prohibit deputies from being absent in more than 20 per cent of NA's meetings without valid reasons.

Lawmakers also stressed the duty of the country's press to serve as a bridge between the NA and NA deputies, as well as Vietnamese people from all walks of life. They discussed establishing proper guidelines on press conferences and other press-related activities. — VNS

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