Vietnam attaches great importance to cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council and considers it an effective mechanism for sharing information, experiences, and enhancing mutual understanding among countries.

An active, responsible member of the international community

In recent years, Vietnam's multilateral diplomacy has expanded and deepened, raising its level at regional, inter-regional and international levels. An outstanding feature of Vietnam's multilateral diplomacy is that there is always an ingenious and synchronous combination between State diplomacy, including the National Assembly, Party and people's diplomacy.

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With requirements in the new situation, the Party Secretariat issued Directive No. 25-CT/TW on promoting and enhancing multilateral foreign relations from now to 2030. This is the first directive document of the Party on the country’s multilateral foreign relations, making multilateral foreign relations a task of the entire political system.

In that spirit, our country's future multilateral external relations goal is “to strive to play a core role, lead or mediate at multilateral forums and organizations that are important to the country”.

In the context of rapid, complicated and unpredictable changes in the regional and international situation, Vietnam's multilateral diplomacy has changed from "active participation" to "proactive contribution to building and form multilateral institutions”, to help Vietnam assert itself as an active and responsible member of the international community.

Vietnam's candidacy for and being elected as the Chair of the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the period of 2018 - 2019 is one of the effective steps in implementing Directive 25.

As the Chair of the General Assembly of WIPO, Vietnam pushed WIPO’s support many projects in Vietnam in this area, such as the project to assist Vietnam fulfilling WIPO's membership obligations, improving provision of statistics for compiling the national innovation report as well as building policies and measures to strengthen the nation's innovation work. In a quarter of a century associated with ASEAN, Vietnam has always been active, proactive in responsible participation and left many important marks.

In 2020, Vietnam was honored to assume major responsibilities at both regional and international levels, in which the role of ASEAN Chair is prominent. "This is an opportunity for Vietnam to contribute substantially to the development of a harmonious, resilient, creative, cohesive, identifiable and adaptable ASEAN Community," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed on the ASEAN Year 2020.

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Since January 1, 2020, Vietnam officially assumed the role of a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations. With the theme "Vietnam: A reliable partner for a sustainable peace", Vietnam also set out 7 priorities of Vietnam at the United Nations Security Council for the term 2020-2021.

Substantial contribution to human rights

At forums of the Human Rights Council, the Commission on Human Rights and Social Affairs (Committee 3), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Vietnam always works actively with developing countries, the countries sharing the same opinion in struggling to protect the basic principles of human rights access: the principle of respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial unity and integrity, not interfering in internal affairs of each other, not politicizing the issue of human rights.

With that approach, Vietnam does not support resolutions on the human rights situation in a particular country, for example a resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar, North Korea, the Philippines, Iran... Vietnam believes that dialogue and cooperation is an effective way to consider human rights issues, not to criticize each other or pressure or politicize human rights.

In discussing specialized contents at human rights forums, Vietnam advocates to ensure a comprehensive and balanced approach between rights groups, especially when many Western countries tend to attach importance more to civil and political rights than other rights. Vietnam works closely with developing countries to promote groups of priority rights, especially regarding economic, social, cultural, development rights, and the rights of vulnerable groups. Vietnam emphasizes that human rights issues should be considered on the basis of respect for specific elements of each country in terms of history, culture and development level. From that respect, countries can understand and do not impose standards on other countries, whether it is the abolition of the death penalty, same-sex marriage or freedom of speech on cyberspace.

Along with ensuring the above principles, Vietnam is working hard to play its pivot role and lead on many contents at human rights forums, especially with the continued introduction and maintenance of its initiatives.

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At the regional level, Vietnam is also an active participant in presiding over many activities within the ASEAN human rights framework, including the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Committee on promoting the rights of women and children (ACWC). Vietnam hosted the AICHR Workshop on promoting gender equality and empowering women through information technology (November 2019), Conference on the promotion of the development of children in Asia and the Pacific Duong (December 2019). In particular, in preparation for the term of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021, in 2019, Vietnam actively researched and prepared for its participation in the topic "Women, peace and security" of the UN Security Council. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2008-2009 term, Vietnam presided over the introduction and promotion of the adoption of the Security Council's Resolution 1889 on the role of women in the post-conflict period.

At UN forums as well as regional forums related to human rights, today's participation is not limited to informing the international community about policies, laws and achievements of Vietnam in ensuring human rights. Grasping the spirit of the Party Secretariat's Directive No. 25 on promoting and enhancing multilateral foreign relations by 2030, Vietnam has gradually contributed more substantially to forums, by sharing its approaches and experiences, actively contributing responsibility to issues that the international community cares about, as well as willing to play a core role, ready to act as a bridge, mediating when necessary.

Thuy Nguyen