Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has affirmed Vietnamese Government’s consistent policy of ensuring human rights, on the basis of the understanding that human rights are universal values.

The policy also has its roots in the nation’s thousand-year-old historic and cultural traditions and the Vietnamese people’s aspirations, the minister said at the 22 nd meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 25.

FM Minh underlined the country’s policies and laws designed to protect human rights, as well as its achievements, especially in economic growth, poverty reduction, which contribute to ensuring the people’s fundamental rights in all fields.

He affirmed Vietnam ’s intention to make more contributions to international cooperation in the field.

“Vietnam is a party to most human rights international treaties and implemented the agreed recommendations received during the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review. Bilateral dialogues regarding human rights have also been extended with many countries,” he said.

“Vietnam is still a developing country striving to build a State ruled by law. Therefore, it has to deal with many challenges in the field of human rights and is poised to work even harder in order to protect people’s economic, social, civil, and political rights,” he added.

Minh further emphasised that the country’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council for the term 2014-2016 shows its commitment to active, constructive and responsible participation in the work of the Council.

The minister expressed his concern that although unprecedented progress has been realised in the field of human rights over the last decades, formidable challenges remained in all corners of the world. Poverty, malnutrition, epidemics, illiteracy, and environmental degradation continue to take their toll, first and foremost on women, children, persons with disabilities, the poor, the elderly, migrants, and minority groups, he said.

He called for efforts to seek political methods to end violence, and stressed the top responsibilities of protecting human rights of concerning countries.

At the same time, he noted that over the last seven years, the Human Rights Council has been an effective mechanism to protect and promote human rights around the world, by adopting a holistic and balanced approach towards all human rights.

He said within the ASEAN framework, efforts has been carried out to promote human rights cooperation, particularly through the creation of the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted last November.

The UN Human Rights Council’s three-day meeting has drawn the participation of high-ranking delegates from 76 countries, including 1 president, 2 vice presidents, 1 prime minister, 8 deputy prime ministers, 43 ministers, 3 secretaries of state and 17 deputy ministers.-VNA