Vietnam’s election as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with the highest number of votes among candidates is a success that affirms the sound policy of the Party and State on human rights.

This also reflects the international community’s objective acknowledgment of the country’s efforts and achievements in exercising citizens’ basic rights.

Human rights in Vietnam have been fully guaranteed in a more effective manner since the country began its renewal process more than 25 years ago.

Its people-centred policies have brought in remarkable results in poverty reduction, education development, health care, job creation and improvement of people’s living conditions and welfares.

Despite difficulties derived from the global economic-financial crisis, Vietnam has exerted every effort to maintain an annual economic growth of 6 percent. Top priority has also been given to the implementation of social welfare policies for poor and ethnic minority people and other vulnerable groups.

As a result, Vietnam has fulfilled many Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule and is on track to reach the remaining targets.

Ensuring the freedom of speech, press and information has seen significant achievements. Mass media has developed rapidly with diversified forms and plentiful contents, helping transmit information about all walks of life to the people.

The press has played an important role in protecting social interests and people’s right to freedom, and supervising and inspecting the enforcement of the State’s policies and laws, including those on human rights.

Vietnam has also attached importance to guaranteeing the right to freedom of belief and religion. Since the Ordinance on Belief and Religion was promulgated, the religious life in the country has seen positive changes. People are free to practice religious activities on the basis of respecting the State’s religious policy and law, and ensuring social order and safety.

Over the past years, worshipping facilities have been built or upgraded while the training of religious dignitaries has been maintained and expanded, with many of them being sent to study abroad. Religious organisations in Vietnam have actively participated in social activities and made contributions to national development.

Vietnam’s elections as a UNHRC member is an important step in implementing its foreign policy of being a friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member in the international community, and active and proactive international integration.

The country has actively and proactively participated in international and regional cooperation processes, both bilaterally and multilaterally, in various fields, including the promotion and protection of human rights.

It is now member to eight important international conventions on human rights and 18 treaties of the International Labour Organisations (ILO).

At the regional level, Vietnam has actively joined other ASEAN member countries in promoting the operation of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Meanwhile, at the inter-regional level, the country has actively responded to Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) activities to promote human rights such as seminars and conferences on human rights and dialogues among beliefs and religions.

At the global level, Vietnam has also proactively engaged in the common affairs of the international community related to human rights at United Nations bodies and forums.

The country has supported the strengthening of international cooperation in this field on the basis of equal and constructive dialogues, mutual respect and understanding, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, for the common goal of better promoting and protecting human rights.

From the above-mentioned achievements, it can be said that Vietnam ’s election to the UNHRC is a great success of the Party and State’s foreign policy and a heavy blow struck against those who seek to slander, distort and smear the democracy, human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam .

The UNHRC membership also affirms the country’s increasing position and prestige in the international arena.

With the sound policy of the Party and State in protecting and promoting human rights as well as experience accumulated over the past time, Vietnam will accomplish its role through close coordination with other member countries in a constructive and responsible spirit, contributing to improving the efficiency of this mechanism as well as other United Nations mechanisms on human rights.-VNA