Together with running for a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2014-2016 tenure, Vietnam has made numerous efforts to realise its view of human rights as a common value and aspiration of human beings as well as represent its consistent policy of respecting and ensuring human rights, and enhancing international cooperation in this field.

From achievements and experience from its comprehensive renewal process based on three pillars: economic growth, social progress and equality, and guarantee of human rights, Vietnam has made positive contributions to joint efforts by the international community to fostering and better protecting human rights in the world over the past 26 years.

In Vietnam , humans are both the target and motivation of its development. Every policy of the country aims to serve the people. Vietnam’s Constitution fully and comprehensively acknowledges all human rights on economic, social, cultural and civil issues.

Basic rights and freedom of human beings have been guaranteed in a more effective and fuller manner. Over the past five years, the country has maintained a high economic growth rate (about 6 percent on average), created additional 8 million jobs. The unemployment rate in urban areas fell to 4.5 percent while the rate of poor households dropped to 9.5 percent.

Social security has been ensured and people’s access to health care services has been improved, especially for children, poor and ethnic minority groups, while the human development index has been raising continuously.

Vietnam has fulfilled many Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule and is on track to reach the remaining goals.

Together with those achievements, the people’s active participation and voice have been heightened, with their rights being better guaranteed through the more effective performance of direct democracy rights, including the right to stand for election and to vote, and indirect ones via people-elected bodies such as the National Assembly and People’s Council at all levels.

The people also have the right to express their ideas and supervise the operations of the complaint and denunciation mechanism.

Press activities in Vietnam have developed strongly in both quantity and form while the access to and application of information technology and the Internet have boomed, making Vietnam one of the leaders in this field as valued by UN professional bodies.

Religious life has become busier with the development of all major religions in the world and locally-born ones, which was reflected by the increasing numbers of religious organisations, followers, worshipping places, training facilities and publications.

Vietnam is member to eight important international conventions on human rights, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Vietnam was the first country in Asia to ratify the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, the country joined 18 treaties of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

In December 2011, Vietnam ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It recently signed the United Nations Convention against Torture.

The country has also voted for the Resolution on building the comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older persons and will actively participate in the building of this convention.

Vietnam has proactively participated in international activities on human rights at UN agencies and forums to which it is a member. The country made active contributions to the affairs of the Human Rights Committee (2001-2003), the Socio-Economic Council (2000-2002), the Social Development Committee (2002-2004 and 2012-2014), and the UN Security Council (2008-2009).

In the framework of the UN Security Council, Vietnam hosted negotiations on the Statement of its President on “children and armed conflict” and Resolution 1889 on “women and peace and security”.

Vietnam highly values the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) under the Human Rights Council, considering it an effective mechanism to share information and experience as well as strengthen mutual understanding among countries, thus fostering and better guaranteeing human rights.

The Human Rights Council and its member countries appreciated Vietnam for its serious preparations for the first UPR Report in 2009 with plentiful contents and a constructive approach.

Vietnam accepted 93 out of 123 recommendations of the UPR Working Group and is actively implementing them.

In addition, regional countries acknowledged Vietnam ’s practical contributions to enhancing ASEAN solidarity and cooperation, including cooperation in human rights, especially in the building of the ASEAN Charter and Community as well as the establishment and operation of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Vietnam actively contributed to drafting the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, which was adopted at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2012. The declaration affirmed that ASEAN commitments on human rights are in line with international standards, creating a framework for increasing ASEAN cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights in the region.

Vietnam has also strengthened bilateral cooperation and dialogue with many countries to share information and experience in order to better guarantee human rights. Especially, the country has set up an annual human rights dialogue mechanism with the US, the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Australia. Relevant parties have had positive assessments on the results of the dialogues.

With its policy of active and proactive international integration, Vietnam has actively contributed to the common affairs of the Human Rights Council, especially in issues of its strength and expertise. Thanks to this, the country has heightened its voice and position, and together with other countries struggled to protect and promote progressive principles and contents on human rights.-VNA