Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vietnam Foreign Ministry defends human rights record

Vietnam's human rights performance was defended by the Foreign Ministry in a 22-page report issued April 23, which is to be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 8. Under UN rules each country in the world is subjected to a periodic review in four year cycles. This is Vietnam's year, among many other countries. The report was interesting in the statistics presented, such as the estimate that over 80 percent of the people follow a religious belief. The report also acknowledged some shortcomings, blaming this on the failure of some local officials to properly implement national policy. But it failed to address basic human rights concerns which have been raised by its critics. such as lack of genuine choice in elections, particularly at the national level; laws that criminalize dissent and provide inadequate protections; arbitrary arrest and unfair political trials of dissidents; and continued restrictions on religious groups.

Sources: Viet Nam News April 24; text of report posted at Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.


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