Vietnam elected member of UN Human Rights Council

On November 12th 2013, Vietnam was elected with the highest vote (184/192) to become one of 14 new members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the first time. The UNHRC is the principal intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. The council has subsidiary operational mechanisms, most notably the UNHRC Universal Periodic Review (UPR), wherein all member nations are required to submit periodic reports to review the human rights performance in their countries.

Becoming a UNHRC member, moreover with such an overwhelming vote, demonstrates the international community’s positive acknowledgement and recognition of Vietnam’s achievements in better ensuring human rights in the field of politics, society, economy, culture, education, religion, belief etc. It shows that Vietnam has received the trust of the wide majority of UN member states. This event is also a significant milestone in the process of Vietnam’s international integration.

Currently, Vietnam is a member to eight important international conventions o­n human rights. In addition, Vietnam has signed and ratified 18 conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Vietnam submitted their first UPR Report in 2009 and recently launched the national report under the second cycle which was highly appreciated by countries and the Human Rights Council. In recent years, Vietnam has made significant achievements in promoting and protecting human rights in all areas. Especially, Vietnam has attached great importance to the formulation and development of gender equality policies and programs to ensure women's rights, including the formulation and promulgation of legal documents o­n gender equality and non-discrimination in accordance with the Convention o­n the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Law o­n Gender Equality (2006); mainstreaming gender in legal documents development and implementation; the promulgation of the National Strategy o­n Gender Equality for the 2011-2020 period and the National Program o­n Gender Equality for the 2011-2015 period; and the active implementation of international and regional initiatives to promote the protection of women's rights and to combat discrimination against women.


The Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) with its mandate of representing the legal and legitimate rights and interests of women, has been very successful in making many significant contributions towards ensuring women’s rights in recent years. The VWU has proactively participated in the development and supervision of law and policy implementation related to gender equality; giving social counter arguments; contributing to ensuring gender mainstreaming in laws, codes, and legal normative documents; promoting women’s rights pertaining to access to information and improving their capacity and awareness in politics, economics, as well as labor and employment areas; supporting women in poverty reduction and economic development, building happy and sustainable families; and promoting and ensuring the rights of disadvantaged/vulnerable women’s groups. In 2013, the VWU sent a report o­n ensuring and promoting women’s rights to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to serve the second UPR cycle of Vietnam.


It can be said that Vietnam’s successful election to the UNHRC is a triumph for the Party and State’s foreign relations work, reflecting Vietnam’s improving position and increasing prestige in the international arena. During the coming three year tenure of 2014-2016, Vietnam will have the opportunity to contribute directly to the protection and promotion of the values ​​of human rights around the world and will have the chance to share with as well as learn best practices from international partners. This will undoubtedly contribute to the better enjoyment of the rights of Vietnamese people, including women and children.


International Relations Department, VWU