Jul 17, 2018

UNPO Submits Report for Universal Periodic Review on Viet Nam

On 12 July 2018, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in collaboration with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), submitted a report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the occasion of the 32st session of the Universal Periodic Review, during which Viet Nam is under consideration. This report draws attention to human rights violations occurring in the country with a particular focus on violations derived from the restriction of Freeedom of Religion, the lack of recognition of indigenous communities by the Vietnamese government and the limitations imposed on legal and procedural rights.

To download the full report, click here.

Four years after the last report of the Universal Periodic Review working group on the country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has failed to implement the recommendations issued as a result of this process, despite the efforts of the Vietnamese government to prove the opposite. Human rights violations affecting minorities in Viet Nam, as well as political activists and religious figures, remain a problem for a country that not only refuses to acknoledge the status of indigenous communities to the minorities living within its borders, but also imposes severe restrictions on some of the most fundamental rights of its citizens.

Indigenous groups are still not recognized as such by the State of Viet Nam, whose incapacity to design and implement adequate policies aiming to guarantee the respect of ethnic communities in the country has as a direct consequence a limitation of their  rights and an impossibility to ensure these groups’ socio-economic development.

Together with that, the restrictions imposed on freedom of religion by the Vietnamese government have been exacerbated by the new regulation passed in 2016, with religious minorities being especially vulnerable to the tightening of the governmental control system derived from this legislation.

Finally, the limittion of fundamental legal and procedural rights continue to be a reality in Viet Nam, something which the formal reforms introduced by the new criminal legislation will be unable to change unless they are complemented with a structural reform touching upon the main elements of the Vietnamese State.

For all those reasons, the UNPO urges the Vietnamese goverment to consider the following recommendations:

- to ratify Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and to implement the content of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007;

- to acknowledge the indigenous status of the Khmer-Krom people;

- to allow Khmer-Krom children to freely study their native language in public schools starting from kindergarten, and to particularly improve the access to education for Khmer-Krom girls and women;

- to recognise the Khmer language as an official language in Kampuchea-Krom;

- to ensure the protection of freedom of religion, expression and association in compliance with the corresponding ICCPR rights;

- in particular, to repeal or amend the 2016 Law on Belief and Religion;

- to allow the free formation of religious, social and professional associations outside the control of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front; to implement the necessary reforms to ensure the respect of the right to a fair public trial and to guarantee that torture, arbitrary deprivation of life or detention, or violations of human rights derived from poor detention conditions are not suffered by the Vietnamese people.