Human rights differences should be candidly discussed
Friday, March 09, 2012
(VOVworld) On Wednesday the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs approved the so-called Vietnam Human Rights Bill, which provides inaccurate and biased information about human rights in Vietnam. The bill does not reflect Vietnam’s human rights reality and runs counter to the course of Vietnam-US dialogue on human rights. VOV editor Thu Hoa has more.
|Vietnamese diplomats at a UN forum on human rights
Vietnam and the US are undeniably at odds on human rights issues, but this doesn’t mean that Vietnam does not recognize human rights. Dang Dung Chi, Deputy Director of the Institute of Human Rights Studies, told VOV that right after becoming a UN member in 1977, Vietnam joined international conventions on human rights and is now a signatory of virtually all related conventions. Vietnam has done a good job as a UN member and persuasively defended its record at the UN Human Rights Council in September, 2009. During its renewal process since 1986, Vietnam has paid greater attention to improving its legal system to ensure better protection of human rights. Mr. Chi said human rights in Vietnam are expanding: “According to UN criteria on human rights, Vietnam’s achievements are seen in the fact that the people enjoy more freedom in business activities, in the selection of places of residence and work, and in going abroad or returning home. Everybody is equal under the laws. The people are free to express their viewpoints in the media and have the right to file petitions or denunciations against authorities’ misdemeanors. Their rights to information have been gradually expanded. Socio-economic and cultural freedom have steadily improved, with the right to an education, health care, safety and a clean environment guaranteed. These rights are exercised not only in urban areas but in all parts of the nation."
Mr. Chi said Vietnam has made efforts to inform the world of its human rights situation:“Vietnam has been more proactive in holding dialogues with countries and international organizations on human rights. There are various forms of dialogues such as between states, governments, parliamentarians, and between civil organizations. We are willing to address all issues that the world has raised to us. I think this is a positive point because only through dialogue, can we make parties involved understand more about issues of common concerned."
Human rights issues depend on each country’s development level and specific conditions. Vietnam is always ready to cooperate and hold talks with the rest of the world, including the US, to foster mutual understanding of differences. But human rights dialogue and international cooperation should be based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs for a common goal of better protecting human rights. The approval of the Vietnam Human Rights Bill lacks good will and set back the improved relations between Vietnam and the US. Human rights differences between the two countries should continue to be discussed candidly in a constructive spirit that promotes bilateral ties rather than making reproving gestures and interfering in Vietnam’s internal affairs.