Statement by the Delegation of the United States
Geneva, September 24, 2009
As prepared (not delivered in plenary)
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States encourages Vietnam to implement more fully its stated policy of respecting and ensuring human rights as enshrined in its Constitution and its expressed recognition that human rights are universal values. The United States further encourages Vietnam to comply fully with its commitment to protect and promote human rights.
The United States strongly urges Vietnam to reconsider its rejection of the recommendation to comply with its commitment in Article 69 of its Constitution, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by ensuring freedom of expression for members of the press without fear of arbitrary arrest or prosecution, providing for the free flow of information on the Internet, and abolishing restrictive regulations on blogging and the media.
The United States expresses deep concern over the plight of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam and strongly supports the recommendation that Vietnam release them unconditionally and allow their full reintegration into their communities without prejudice. The United States also urges Vietnam to reconsider its rejection of the recommendation to abolish vague “national security” provisions, such as Articles 84, 88, and 258, which are used to convict those who voice dissent against the government and its policies. Finally the United States encourages Vietnam to speed the process for registration of churches in Vietnam and recognize the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
The UPR process is a valuable tool in the protection of human rights and the United States encourages all countries to take a positive approach to the process that fosters an open dialogue among HRC participants and with interested non-governmental organizations.
As the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action reminds us: “It is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The United States encourages Vietnam to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms in this spirit.