Unavoidable differences in human rights awareness

Published: 10/05/2009 05:00



Vietnamese delegates in Geneva.

VietNamNet Bridge – On May 8, Vietnam presented its human rights report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. After the session, VietNamNet had a short interview with Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, the chief of the Vietnamese delegation.

Many countries comment positively on VN’s human right report

This was the first time Vietnam presented its Universal Periodic Report to the UN. How did you and other members of the Vietnamese delegation prepare?

Vietnam carefully prepared for this event, with the participation of all related ministries and agencies. This careful preparation helped Vietnam be self-confident and ready for dialogue with all countries in this session.

What was remarkable about Vietnam’s report at the forum in Geneva?

When presenting the report, I and other members in the Vietnamese delegation had an opportunity to provide multi-faceted information related to human rights practices in Vietnam.

I was very impressed when representatives of other countries highly appreciated our achievements in the economic-social development process.

This is the largest forum so far – including 162 nations — for Vietnam to inform the world of what we have achieved. We didn’t have such opportunities before.

Many countries had a chance to know about information on human rights practices in Vietnam for the first time.

What do you think about the comments and opinions of other countries?

Seventy-five countries registered to speak but the time was limited so not all of them could comment. As I said, most of the speakers, both developed and developing, acknowledged Vietnam’s achievements in economic, social, cultural and also political areas.

Developing countries want to learn about Vietnam’s experience in economic and social development. That’s the forté of Vietnam. However, we understand that the concept of human rights in each country is different. Developing and developed countries have different perspectives, so it is unavoidable to have differences in judging human rights values.

Some countries, particularly developed countries, spoke about their values of human rights and this was a chance for us to explain and speak out our own points of view.

Speaking at the session, I emphasized that ensuring human rights is one of the top priorities of the international community and also of Vietnam. The highest goal, and also the specific expression of human rights in Vietnam, is our effort to build a “rich people, strong country, and just, civilized and democratic society”.

Speaking with VietNamNet in Geneva, the Swiss Ambassador for Human Rights Issues said that all countries have problems associated with human rights, resulting from different characteristics.

What do you think about the human rights report Vietnam sent to the UN Human Rights Council?

I think that it is a comprehensive report, reflecting good points of view on Vietnam’s efforts to practice human rights. Vietnam’s progress in human rights practices in recent years is undeniable.

Besides progress, the report also frankly identifies matters about which the Vietnamese government is clearly aware, through introducing policies and orientations, that need to improve regarding human rights practices in Vietnam in the future.

What did you think about the human rights situation in Vietnam before and after you heard the report?

Actually, I went to Vietnam to survey human rights practices. Progress and improvement is evident. With a different historical situation, Vietnam is exerting itself to improve human rights practices. Dynamic economic and social development has helped improve the lives of Vietnamese people. There are positive changes in Vietnam and I was not surprised by the report.

At the session, some countries recommended that Vietnam continue improving human rights in press, religion, etc. What is your comment?

These recommendations are ordinary. Every country has its own concerns and different ideas, based on their different thoughts and awareness of the value of human rights. Each country has its own problems related to human rights, not only Vietnam. It is natural. Vietnam has its own historical situation and its starting point. It is important that Vietnam can define its itinerary and its road.

What are your recommendations for human rights practices in Vietnam in the coming time?

Basically, I expect Vietnam to follow its own path, to continue implementing the improvements that it has achieved in human right practices. In the coming years, I hope that Vietnam will continue expanding human rights practices and issue specific programmes to realise its policies on human rights.

VietNamNet (From Geneva)

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