European Parliament calls for better EU human rights monitoring in Vietnam

Press release

(Paris, Brussels) In a resolution adopted on 17 December, the European Parliament (EP) makes it clear that two important upcoming agreements between the EU and Vietnam have to foster respect for human rights, rule of law, and democracy. The EU and Vietnam are currently in the process of concluding a free trade agreement (FTA) and a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation.

The EP resolution also called for “capacity building to enhance the settlement of complaints by affected individuals and communities".

"The creation of complaint mechanism would be a significant achievement for the EU and a key tool for victims of human rights violations to seek redress for the negative impact that EU policies, including on trade and investment, may have on human rights in Vietnam," said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

To ensure the EU-Vietnam partnership effectively promotes human rights, the EP resolution calls for the establishment of clear benchmarks and deadlines and for the European Commission (EC) and the EP to collaborate with civil society to evaluate the implementation of the agreement. The resolution also calls for an enhancement of the role of the EP and the inter-parliamentary meetings as a means to monitor the agreement’s implementation.

Reflecting the recommendations made by FIDH and its member organization, the Vietnam Committee for Human Rights (VCHR), the EP’s recommendations recognize the need for the EC to address current weaknesses of its business policies visa-a-vis human rights.

The EP resolution also points out that Vietnam has to implement key reforms, including: .allowing the participation of civil society in public affairs; implementing the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) UPR recommendations; creating an independent national human rights institution; establishing an immediate moratorium on death penalty; reforming the Criminal Code to respect the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association; and reforming the justice system to comply with international fair trial standards and to ensure independence of the justice system.

Finally, the resolution calls for the release of prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, as well as land rights activists, workers and environmental activists. It also calls for the respect of freedom of religion and an end to discrimination and repression of ethnic and religious minorities. It urges the government to end land confiscation and to set up adequate complaints mechanisms.

"The European Parliament resolution is a step in the rights direction but it needs to be backed by action by the European Commission and, more importantly, by the government of Vietnam," said VCHR President Vo van Ai.

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