Vietnam’s election as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the first time shows that the country has won high confidence from UN member states, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said.

On November 12, Vietnam was elected to become one of the 14 new council members for the 2014-2016 tenure. It received 184 votes out of a total of 192, the highest number of votes among the candidates.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, FM Minh said that running for a seat in the UNHRC was an important step for Vietnam in its road to achieving the foreign policy goal of being a friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community as well as promoting active international integration.

“This determination reflects the Vietnamese Party and State’s view of human rights as a common aspiration of human beings as well as their consistent policy of respecting and ensuring human rights, and enhancing international cooperation in this field,” he noted.

According to Minh , Vietnam ’s election to the UNHRC with the highest vote is of great significance. It shows the international community’s acknowledgement and appreciation of Vietnam ’s policies and achievements in its comprehensive renewal process, including the building of a state of law that offers a better guarantee of citizens’ rights.

Over past years, it can be said that every achievement of the country has targeted people, he said, adding that despite difficulties in economic development, Vietnam has still maintained the active implementation of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), bringing practical benefits to its people.

In the ongoing amendment of the Constitution, a crucial political event, the issue of human rights has been paid special attention, representing the Constitution’s basic function in recognising, ensuring and protecting human rights and citizens’ rights, the minister said.

He stressed that Vietnam ’s election to the council is a triumph for the Party and State’s foreign relations work, reflecting the increasing position and prestige of the nation in the international arena.

This success is a continuation of the country’s successes in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and comes ahead of the country’s hosting of the 132 nd Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly in 2015 and the APEC Summit in 2017, he added.

In the spirit of stepping up intensive and comprehensive international integration in the next three years, Vietnam, as a UNHRC member, will make proactive contributions to the common affairs of the council and follow the consistent policy of the Party and State on human rights and major orientations in foreign policy, while performing the tasks and commitments required of a member of the UNHRC and the UN.

As a member, Vietnam will have conditions to highlight its stance, policies and law as well as share its successes and experience in ensuring human rights, especially in building a state of law, enhancing the role of the National Assembly and promoting judicial reform.

“We will let the world know the reality of respecting and guaranteeing human rights in political, economic, social, cultural and civil issues in Vietnam, positive results on poverty reduction, efforts to ensure food security and social welfare, and the good implementation of MDGs, thus refuting wrong information about the human rights and political situation in the country,” he said, adding that Vietnam will also benefit from more opportunities to learn from international experience.

Vietnam will work closely with other member countries to increase contributions in a constructive and responsible spirit to human right issues of international concern as well as actively promote international dialogue and cooperation in order to improve the operational efficiency of the UNHRC and the UN’s other mechanisms on human rights.

In addition to experience sharing, the participation in the council’s affairs offers a good chance for Vietnam to improve the capacity of its staff and be ready to engage more deeply in important multilateral mechanisms in the context of strengthened international integration.-VNA