Issues relating to a guarantee of ethnic minority groups’ rights in Vietnam have been made clear at two dialogues on the country’s report on the implementation of the convention on elimination of racial discrimination in Geneva .

During the event on Feb. 21-22, the Vietnamese delegation answered over 40 questions relating to rights of ethnic minority groups stipulated by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Deputy Minister, Vice Chairman of the Ethnic Affairs Committee Ha Hung told the Vietnam News Agency in Geneva.

Questions covered a wide range of issues such as poverty reduction, socio-economic development for ethnic minority groups, difficulties and challenges in the implementation of programmes and policies, preservation of ethnic culture during the country’s economic integration, education, elimination of preconceptions about ethnic minority groups, their involvement in policy making process, and land compensation for hydropower and key projects, he said.

According to Hung, the delegation has reported on the teaching of ethnic languages at schools, and elaborated on policies designed for the five ethnic groups of very small populations, as well as preferential policies on employment and education for ethnic minorities.

At the 80th session of the CERD Committee, Vietnam presented a report on the country’s results in implementing the CERD in the period from 2000-2009, he added.
Vietnam is a unified nation with 54 ethnic groups living together, with the Kinh group accounting for 85.7 percent of the population; the remaining 53 ethnic groups make up 14.3 percent with 12 million people.

Ethnic minorities are distributed through 75 percent of the country, living intermixed. No ethnic group lives separately within its own regional territory.

Equality among all ethnic groups is a fundamental principle of the policy to ensure the rights of ethnic minorities. Ethnic groups, regardless of their belonging to a majority or minority and through all levels of development, have equal rights and obligations in all domains of social life, which are ensured by the Constitution and the law.

Vietnam reaffirms its views stated in the previous report, which is to strongly reject and oppose division and incitement of hatred among ethnic groups.

The Constitution of Vietnam affirms that all Vietnamese citizens are equal in all aspects and prescribes the responsibilities and obligations of the State, which is “to carry out the policy of equality and unity among ethnic communities, and prohibits all acts of ethnic discrimination and division”. This principle is enshrined in the entire legal system of Vietnam .
Vietnam became a member of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1982 and was among 11 convention members to present its report at the 80th session which began on Feb. 13 and runs until Mar. 9./.