Chairman of the NA's Committee on Scientific, Technological and Environmental Affairs Phan Xuan Dung speaks at the event (Photo: VNA)

Members of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee focused on the draft Law on Associations while open for discussion at the committee’s ongoing 41st sitting on September 24.

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, ensuring 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’ ability to exercise the right and bring into play associations’ voluntariness, self-management and self-responsibility. The law must also prevent hostile forces from forming opposition organisations to sabotage the Party and State and violate political security and social order and safety.

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

Voicing support to Term 2, many participants 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 Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Law on Trade Union and the Ordinance on War Veterans.

Chairman of the NA’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Ksor Phuoc 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 Vietnam’s strong integration into the region and world and growing relationship with a number of international organisations.

At the meeting, Chairman Phuoc, Vice Chairman of the NA’s Committee for Judicial Affairs Nguyen Dinh Quyen and attendees agreed with Article 36 that foreigners legally residing and working in Vietnam are allowed to join associations under certain circumstances as stipulated by the Government.

Some participants said the foundation of foreign associations in Vietnam needs to be thoroughly vetted.-VNA