Vietnam and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to working together to ensure human rights obligations are met under domestic legislation as well as to investigate areas for multilateral and regional cooperation.
The pledge was made at the 17th Annual Human Rights Dialogue held this week, according to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The two countries recognized the significant impact of Covid-19 on their people and societies. Australia acknowledged Vietnam’s work to respond to the pandemic and was pleased to have been able to support vaccine rollout in the country.
During the event, Australia noted that its Third Cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council took place in 2021 while Vietnam highlighted its progress to implement its UPR recommendations, including a voluntary mid-term report, and welcomed Australia’s input into this process.
Australia welcomed Vietnam’s successful term as 2020 Chair of ASEAN and membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2020-2021.
The countries provided updates on their work to promote and protect human rights. They discussed approaches to human rights, updates on rule of law, and legal reform policies to protect the rights of women and children, Indigenous Australians and Vietnamese ethnic minority peoples, the LGBTI community, and persons with a disability.
Vietnam highlighted progress in legal reforms, including the adoption of human rights-related legislation, the implementation of ratified international human rights instruments, and noted its plans to study the ratification of additional international human rights instruments.
Both countries discussed efforts and achievements since the last dialogue in protecting and promoting human rights, including economic, social and cultural, and civil and political rights. Australia underlined the importance of freedom of religion, assembly, and association, as well as freedom of expression in traditional media and on social media.
Both sides noted the significant role played by the media, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders to make a positive contribution to each society.
Vietnam noted the importance of balancing the rights of individuals and the community, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the increase in online misinformation and cyber security threats. Meanwhile, Australia emphasized that the key to its public health response was upholding laws that protected and fulfilled its human rights obligations.
They discussed the delivery of Australian Government-funded technical assistance, including support from the Australian Human Rights Commission to integrate human rights into all levels of public education and advance responsible business conduct in Vietnam.
The two countries look forward to holding the 18th Human Rights Dialogue in person in Hanoi in 2022.