The administration of President Joe Biden has reiterated the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights in Vietnam, saying it remains a “top priority” of US foreign policy.
The pledge was made at the 25th Annual US-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, held on 9/11 in Washington, DC, USA.
The US delegation was led by Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Lisa Peterson, and the Vietnamese side was headed by Director General of the Department of International Organization, Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet.
“The United States’ commitment to promoting human rights is fundamental to our nation and an essential element of our foreign policy,” said a US State Department press release. “Promoting and protecting human rights in Vietnam remains a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S.-Vietnam relationship.”
Still, according to the US State Department, the dialogue took place with discussions on many issues related to human rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion and belief, labor rights, the rule of law and legal reform, multilateral cooperation on human rights and individual cases are concerned.
In addition, the dialogue also addresses the rights of vulnerable people, such as ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and people with disabilities.
Right before the dialogue took place, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the US government in this dialogue to push Vietnam to release detained dissidents and other human rights activists.
The organization says the Vietnamese government is currently jailing at least 145 people for peacefully exercising basic rights. In 2021 alone, Hanoi prosecuted and jailed at least 31 people, most of them for expressing views on social media that were contrary to those of the government.
Late last month, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an international consultation workshop on Vietnam’s draft Midterm Report on Voluntary Implementation of UPR Phase III Recommendations.
This is the first time that Vietnam has prepared the “Mid-term Report on Voluntary Implementation of the UPR Recommendations” cycle III to submit to the United Nations Human Rights Council. As one of the few countries to develop this report, Vietnam said the action “shows the member country responsibility, transparency and seriousness of Vietnam towards the UPR Mechanism in particular and in the implementation of international commitments on the guarantee of human rights in general,” especially in the context that Vietnam is actively campaigning for candidacy for the Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025.
Earlier, at the beginning of this year, Vietnam announced its candidacy for the position of member of the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025. This is the second time Vietnam has applied for this position.