Vietnam's New Role in UN Human Rights Council is the Pride of Southeast Asia

Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Sengphet Houngboungnuang congratulates Vietnam on being elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2023-2025 tenure. He hopes this event will create a positive spillover effect for the promotion of human rights in Southeast Asia.

Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Sengphet Houngboungnuang. Photo: VOV

How do you assess the significance of Vietnam's election to the UNHRC for the 2023-2025 term, given that Vietnam was the only candidate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)?

I would like to congratulate Vietnam on passing the rigorous voting to become a member of the UNHRC for the 2023-2025 tenure.

Vietnam was the only candidate in the ASEAN, therefore, this event is not only good news for Vietnam but also a pride of the Southeast Asia region.

Vietnam's election to the UNHRC affirms the international recognition of Vietnam's policies, efforts, and achievements in ensuring human rights in the domestic country; as well as Vietnam's regionally and internationally positive contributions to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) or during the 2020-2021 term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The fact that Vietnam has consecutively been elected to important UN agencies shows that the position and prestige of ASEAN countries are enhancing. Vietnam has also represented the voice of developing countries that constantly contribute and play the role at multilateral forums. This event has once again affirmed that the voices of developing countries are heard and recognized by the international community.

According to you, what are the advantages and challenges of Vietnam's upcoming term as a member of the UNHRC?

The post-Covid-19 context, the complex and unpredictable world situation, and the food and energy crises will be significant challenges for promoting human rights during this term at UNHRC.

However, I think that Vietnam has more advantages than challenges.

Firstly, as a country experiencing bombs and wars, yet its people now can live in peace and happiness, Vietnam can be an inspiration for many countries to learn and strive to promote human rights.

Secondly, Vietnam has successfully taken on UNHRC membership in the 2014-2016 term. Therefore, the country has a foundation to continue promoting its identity in the next term.

Thirdly, Vietnam excellently completed its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council last year. Therefore, Vietnam can uphold commitments and initiatives with its own identity during this term at the UNHRC to contribute to promoting human rights and common concerns of the international community such as sustainable development, responding to climate change, protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, gender equality and the advancement of women and children.

Vietnam has well-trained and experienced multilateral diplomats and a harmonious coordination mechanism among national and foreign ministries. This is what Laos is striving towards and also a great advantage of Vietnam as a member of the entity which plays a key role in the UN system in protecting and promoting human rights.

What do you expect about Vietnam's contributions to the UNHRC and to promote human rights in the region?

With the comprehensive message of “Mutual Respect. Dialogue and Cooperation. Ensuring All Human Rights, for All”, I look forward to Vietnam's active contributions to the UNHRC's activities, thereby creating a positive spillover effect for the promotion of human rights in the region.

I also hope that Vietnam will promote its role as a bridge connecting for more practical and effective cooperation of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights with the UNHRC in this term, directing the attention and support of the international community to help Southeast Asia people better enjoy human rights and citizens’ rights.

The Southeast Asia region has a large number of developing countries. Therefore, the regional economic resilience to crises is not high and is heavily affected by climate change. These have a great impact on ensuring human rights for regional people. I hope that Vietnam can lead the region to overcome challenges, promote practical and effective initiatives, and open up many opportunities for developing countries to contribute and make joint efforts to protect human rights.