February 2, 2017
Photo courtesy of Samuel Tristán @Flickr.com
On Wednesday 1 February 2017, UNPO submitted a report on Viet Nam to UPR Info, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This report is published three years after the socialist republic’s second cycle UPR. It examines Viet Nam’s compliance with the recommendations that were made to it during its last review, focusing especially on the violation of the Khmer Krom and Hmong communities' rights.
In 2014, UNPO’s report on the occasion of Viet Nam’s UPR underlined that the plight of the indigenous Khmer Krom and Hmong was largely centered on poor political will from the central Vietnamese government. Both communities suffered from the lack of an effective system to deal with land claims, the excessive use of force by the authorities, the poor implementation of the rights to freedom of religion, expression and self-determination, and tactics of coercion based on intimidation and torture. Although the Vietnamese government had incorporated key human rights in the national constitution and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the implementation of those human rights standards was severely lacking.
Since then, the Khmer Krom still do not officially exist in the eyes of the Vietnamese authorities, who refuse to recognize them as a distinct ethnic group or as an indigenous community. The indigenous peoples of Viet Nam have been hit especially hard by the toughening of absolute state-control over religious organisations and their practices by the 2016 Law on Belief and Religion.
The present report focuses on recommendations that were made on the topics of religion freedom and freedom of association; freedom of expression, the press and information; freedom from torture and judicial rights; women’s rights; land rights; and language rights. Its main conclusion is that although the ratification of such instruments as the Convention Against Torture can be considered commendable steps, they must now be shored up by adequate measures of implementation. Once again, the report underlines the lack of Viet Nam’s political will to take concrete steps in favor of human rights, and the non-existing trust of the authorities in the Vietnamese society’s diversity.
Among the recommendations that UNPO urges the Vietnamese government to consider are:
1. To acknowledge the indigenous status of the Khmer Krom people;
2. To allow the free formation of religious, social and professional associations outside the control of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front;
3. To ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to set a specific date to ratify the Convention Against Torture Optional Protocol;
4. To recognize the Khmer language as an official language in Kampuchea Krom;
5. To reinstitute the free health care programme.
You can access the report here.
The report is also available on UPR Info's website.