Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
30 July - 17 August 2001
The Committee considered the sixth to ninth periodic reports of Viet Nam, due on 9 July 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999, respectively, submitted in one document (CERD/C/357/Add.2) at its 1480th and 1481st meetings (CERD/C/SR.1480 and 1481) on 8 and 9 August 2001, and at its 1490th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1490), on 15 August 2001, adopted the following concluding observations.
The Committee welcomes the report submitted by the State party, which follows some of the suggestions made to the delegation during the presentation of its previous periodic report, and the additional oral information provided by the delegation. The resumption of a frank and constructive dialogue with the State party after a period of eight years is equally welcomed.
B. Positive aspects
The Committee welcomes the steps taken by the State party to disseminate information on its human rights obligations.
The Committee commends the efforts of the State party to rebuild and renew the social and economic structure of Vietnamese society through its Strategy Plan for Social Economic Stabilization and Development. The Committee considers that a growing economy should contribute to the easing of racial and ethnic tensions.
The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State party of eight United Nations human rights conventions as well as its acceptance of the principle of integrating these conventions into national legislation.
The Committee welcomes the presence of a significant number of representatives of minority groups in the State party’s parliament.
C. Concerns and recommendations
The Committee, considering that no country is free from racial discrimination, encourages the State party to give closer attention to article 1 of the Convention and to consider the situation in the country in accordance with the broad definition given therein of racial discrimination.
Along the lines of its previous concluding observations
the Committee considers that article 87 of the State party’s Criminal Code and article 10, paragraph 2, of the Law on the Press do not encompass the whole scope of application of article 4 of the Convention. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt specific legislation in accordance with article 4 of the Convention.
The Committee notes that the State party’s Constitution devotes an entire chapter to the fundamental rights and obligations of citizens and that several laws have been enacted to put the Constitution into concrete terms, thereby creating a legal environment for its implementation, but would welcome the adoption of more specific anti-discrimination legislation to implement the Convention.
Bearing in mind the allegations of forced sterilization of mountain ethnic minority women and their rejection by the State party’s delegation, the Committee would welcome information from the State party on the impact of its population-planning policies on the enjoyment of reproductive rights by persons belonging to such minorities.
The Committee encourages the State party to continue its efforts to ensure that members of ethnic minorities, in particular minorities in mountain regions, enjoy equal protection of their rights.
The Committee urges the State party to protect the rights of all refugees in Viet Nam, including the rights of Vietnamese repatriated from Cambodia.
The Committee is concerned about reports of discrimination in the exercise of religious freedom by minority ethnic groups. Taking note of the response of the State party delegation denying these allegations, the Committee would request additional information from the State party on the exercise of this right by members of the ethnic minorities in Viet Nam.
The Committee is further concerned about the alleged population transfer to territories inhabited by indigenous groups, disadvantaging them in the exercise of their social, economic and cultural rights. The Committee requests further information on the matter.
As was already emphasized in its previous concluding observations, the Committee notes that the State party report does not mention any case of race-related acts of discrimination that have been submitted to the State party’s judicial authorities. The Committee invites the State party to provide information in this respect in its next periodic report.
Additional information is also requested on the application of the Convention in pursuance of the State party’s policy of comprehensive development to promote the economic, social and cultural rights of all persons belonging to ethnic minorities.
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the education of the society in a spirit of respect for human rights and in particular the rights of members of ethnic minorities.
The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention.
It is noted that the State party has not made the optional declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention, and the Committee recommends that the possibility of such a declaration be considered.
The Committee recommends that the State party’s reports be made readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the Committee’s concluding observations be similarly publicized.
The Committee recommends that the State party submit its tenth periodic report jointly with its eleventh periodic report, due on 9 July 2003, and that it address the points raised in the present observations.
Forty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 18
(A/48/18), paras. 348-358.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights