Vice Chairman of the Ethnic Affairs Committee Ha Hung presented a national report on the implementation of the convention on elimination of racial discrimination at the 80 th session of the convention’s committee in Geneva on Feb. 21.

In the report on Vietnam’s results in implementing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the period from 2000-2009, Hung affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy was equality, unity and mutual respect for shared development among all ethnic groups.

This policy has served as the principle and goal of Vietnam ’s policy on ethnic people, he said.

Vietnam is a unified nation with 54 ethnic groups living together, of which the Kinh group accounts for 85.7 percent; the remaining 53 ethnic groups make up 14.3 percent with 12 million people.

Ethnic minorities are distributed in three fourths of the country, living intermixed. No ethnic group lives separately with its own regional territory. This indicates the harmony of the community of the Vietnamese ethnic groups and became their historical and cultural characters. It also helps them better understand one another as well as uniting and assisting one another in shared development.

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 the majorities or minorities and levels of development, have equal rights and obligations in all domains of social life, which is 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 .

In regard to international law, Vietnam is currently a member of almost all important international treaties on human rights, including CERD, CEDAW, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The country is considering joining the Convention against Torture and the possibility of joining the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In the past decade, Vietnam has achieved significant progress in ensuring the rights of ethnic minorities The material and spiritual life of ethnic minorities has been increasingly improved. The ethnic policy of the State of Vietnam is institutionalised by the Constitution and laws and put in concrete terms by socio-economic development strategies and plans, development programmes and projects in regions with a large number of ethnic minorities and specific policies for the minorities in political, economic, cultural and social areas.

The Vietnamese representative also spoke about the solutions to continue implementing the convention such as completing the legal system and policies related to ethnic minorities; more investment and support for the comprehensive development and promotion of unity and mutual assistance among the ethnic groups; promote the internal strength and comparative advantages of ethnic minorities as well as their sense of self-reliance in poverty reduction and local socio-economic development.

The 80 th session of the CERD began on Feb. 13 and will run until Mar. 9 with the participation of 11 member countries.

Vietnam became a member of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1982.-VNA