“Vietnam remains strong on its commitments to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights for its people,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh at the current 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on Feb. 29.

At the four-week session that will last till March 23, Minh said in implementing people-centred and pro-poor development policies, Vietnam continues to invest in areas that matter the most to the people.

“These policies have enabled the country to achieve remarkable progress in poverty reduction, education, health care and employment, improving the livelihood and social welfare for the citizens,” he said.

“In the context of great difficulties resulting from the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, over the past four years,” the head delegate of Vietnam went on, “our country has managed to maintain an annual economic growth rate of about 6 percent which has provided a strong basis for the enjoyment of human rights for the people.

“Legislative, administrative and judicial reforms continued to be high on the agenda with a view to further strengthening human rights in laws, regulations and practice, including the right to oversee the implementation of laws, access to information, etc.

“Socio-economic development, assurance of social equity and building a law-governed state remain the three pillars of Vietnam’s development strategy.

“As part of the foreign policy aiming to serve its major objective of comprehensive integration, Vietnam has been engaging in human rights dialogue and cooperation with international partners.

“At the regional level, the country is working with the other countries members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote the activities of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), particularly in drafting an ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights.

“Last year, Vietnam received the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and are now expecting the visits by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education.

“Vietnam believes such interaction together with the regular dialogues the country is conducting with several countries do contribute effectively to the betterment of mutual understanding which was essential for any appropriate solution of human rights issues of mutual concern.

“The protection and promotion of human rights is the responsibility for all countries. While upholding the purposes and objectives enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human rights, as a candidate endorsed by the regional organization, ASEAN, for membership on the Human Rights Council for the term 2014-2016, Vietnam is committed to working with the international community to build a world which would be more secure, more prosperous and more just for everyone.”

Speaking about the world situation, Minh said the global economic and financial crisis had been causing serious consequences in every aspect of life of the people in almost every nation. Political and social instabilities had yet to abate, but had shown a trend to increase and widen in a number of regions, leading to crises and internal conflicts.

He said, “The turbulent and violent situations in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa have brought home the fact that the promotion and protection of human rights could only be sustainably implemented on the foundation of peace, stability and development.

“While happy to note that peace and normalcy had been restored in other affected countries, Vietnam is deeply concerned with the escalation of tension and violence in Syria resulting in the loss of so many innocent lives. Vietnam calls upon all parties concerned to show good will, demonstrate constraint and conduct constructive dialogue to find a prompt political solution in line with the aspirations of the Syrian people. Vietnam supports all international efforts aimed at contributing to national reconciliation, restoring peace and stability in Syria and shares the view that any solution to the present situation in Syria has to be based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law, particularly the principles of respect for national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-coercion and non-interference.”

Mentioning the operation of the Human Rights Council forum, the Vietnamese deputy foreign minister said, “As a supreme organ of the United Nations established to replace a body having lost its legitimacy for the outdated manner it conducted its work, the Human Rights Council must truly be a forum to promote co-operation and dialogue among nations on the basis of the principles of transparency, democracy, objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity, avoiding the application of double standards.

“The Council must manage to avoid the very major mistake leading to the failure of its predecessor, which is the politicisation of human rights issues. Furthermore, the root causes of the recent and ongoing turbulent situations in developing countries point to the need for the Council to assure a balanced implementation of economic, cultural social rights and political rights.

“We note with satisfaction that over the past few years, the Council has proved itself more effective, serving as a forum of dialogue and cooperation for all countries in dealing with all human rights issues in a comprehensive and more balanced manner and on the basis of equality.

“We would support efforts aimed at strengthening the Universal Periodic Review mechanism which is based on the principle of equal treatment of all member states. Last year, the General Assembly completed the review of the Council’s work and functioning by adopting resolution A/65/L.78 supplementing resolution 60/251 in further strengthening the Council and improving its effectiveness. Vietnam will continue to engage itself in a constructive manner with other countries in implementation of these two important resolutions,” Minh concluded.-VNA