Vietnam welcomes the constructive comments and recommendations of UN member countries on its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report in the second cycle, a leading Vietnamese diplomat has said.

Speaking at the 18 th session of the UN Human Rights Council UPR working group in Geneva , Switzerland on February 5, Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc stated that t he Vietnamese Government has always exerted every effort to implement its human rights policies, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations accepted at the previous cycle.

According to the deputy foreign minister, in its first UPR cycle in May 2009, Vietnam received 123 recommendations from 60 countries, of which 96 have been accepted. He added that while some recommendations were not accepted for their irrelevance to Vietnam ’s circumstances, they were still seriously studied by the Vietnamese Government for possibilities of implementation.

As many as 17 competent ministries and agencies were tasked to develop their own plans for implementation of the accepted recommendations in specific areas, he said.

Representatives from the relevant ministries and agencies presented to the session reports on how they carried out the recommendations as assigned by the Government.

The majority of participants at the session applauded Vietnam ’s efforts over the past years and congratulated the country on its new role at the council from early this year.

They noted that Vietnam has been recognised internationally as one of the top performers in poverty reduction, with its national poverty rate falling from 58.1 percent in 1993 to 7.8 percent in 2013. The country has also completed five out of eight UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule.

Amid domestic socio-economic difficulties resulting from the global financial and economic downturn, the Vietnamese Government still prioritised social security and improvement of its people’s living standards. For that reason, no social security programmes have been cut during the period.

The delegates also spoke highly of Vietnam ’s signing of the Convention against Torture in November 2013 and expressed hope that the country will soon ratify and implement this Convention.

The 18 th session of the UN Human Rights Council UPR working group is taking place from January 27 to February 7 with the participation of 14 UN member countries, which are New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, Macedonia, Comoros, Slovakia, Eritrea, Cyprus, Dominica, Cambodia and Vietnam.-VNA