Vietnam says US human rights report 'biased'
"Vietnam always stands ready to engage in candid and open discussions with all countries including the US on the outstanding issues where we still have differences of opinion," says a foreign ministry spokesman.
By Le Thi Minh Hue, Channel NewsAsia
21 Apr 2016
HANOI: Vietnam on Thursday (Apr 21) criticised the US Department of State’s 2015 human rights report that had been critical of the Southeast Asian country.
"The report continued to refer to inaccurate information and presented a biased assessment", said Le Hai Binh, the spokesperson of Vietnam's Ministry Foreign Affairs at a press conference in Hanoi.
In its 57-page report, the US Department of State said that severe government restrictions of citizens' political rights are among the most significant human rights problems in the Communist country. It also called Vietnam's parliament election in 2011 "neither free nor fair".
The report comes as Vietnam is gearing up for its parliament elections that come once every 5 years. About 95 per cent of independent candidates have been disqualified, while shortlisted all of party-backed nominees.
In early April, the country convicted seven prominent bloggers and activists for "abusing rights to democracy and freedom to infringe upon the interests of the State", according to the US-based Human Rights Watch.
However, Binh said Vietnam has maintained a consistent policy of respecting and promoting all fundamental rights of its citizens, noting that its efforts and progress have been recognised by the international community.
"Vietnam always stands ready to engage in candid and open discussions with all countries including the US on the outstanding issues where we still have differences of opinion," the spokesperson added.
Last year, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not have any reaction on the US's annual human rights report.