Vietnam Pledges Human Rights Reform by Year 2099


Newsweek | Jan 02, 2024 

Vietnam has reportedly given itself 76 years to implement human rights reforms—a commitment that is being questioned by some activists.

Hanoi submitted a list of eight commitments—to be reached by December 31, 2099—to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights last month for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Radio Free Asia reported, saying it viewed the document.

Vietnam has faced frequent criticism over its human rights record, with Freedom House handed it a score of 19 out of 100 in the 2023 edition of its Freedom in the World report. Capital punishment for crimes other than murder, torture, discrimination against minorities, and rampant human trafficking, were among the issues cited by the non-profit.

Among Vietnam's pledges were those related to strengthening the rule of law; economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights; sustainable development; poverty; and inequality reduction.

Newsweek reached out to the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry for comment.

"By pledging to implement international human rights obligations starting in the next century, Vietnam is showing its contempt for both the U.N. and its Human Rights Council, on which Vietnam inexplicably has a seat, Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson told Newsweek on Tuesday.

Vietnam was elected to serve a two-year term on the Human Rights Council from 2014-2016 and again from 2023-2025.

"Leaving aside war-torn Myanmar, Vietnam has the worst human rights record in the Southeast Asia region, with most political prisoners, a massive crackdown on environmental and other NGOs, most expansive use of the death penalty, and laws that make a mockery of civil and political rights," Robertson said.

He added that the global community's "uncritical engagement" with Vietnamese authorities has emboldened them, "leading to the kind of flippant arrogance that produced this outrageous year 2099 pledge."

"Respecting and ensuring human rights are the consistent viewpoint and policy of our Party and State, which have been prescribed in the Constitution and laws of Vietnam over time," Vietnam's state-sponsored National Defence Journal wrote in a December 14 post commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 75th anniversary.

The publication pointed out that the country has also ratified a number of international conventions on human rights and labor. It has also participated in U.N. peacekeeping missions and sent emergency support to Turkey and Syria after the February 6, 2023, earthquake, demonstrating Hanoi's "role in the field of human rights on a global scale."

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, was a response to atrocities during World War II.




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