UN Special Rapporteur Urges Vietnam to Enhance Human Rights and Public Participation in Development

UN Special Rapporteur Urges Vietnam to Enhance Human Rights and Public Participation in Development
UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development Surya Deva speaking during a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Nov 15, 2023. — Reuters

Hanoi, Vietnam - UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development, Surya Deva, acknowledged Vietnam's achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction at the conclusion of his 10-day visit. However, he stressed the need for greater public participation in the country's development processes, especially among marginalized groups.

Deva commended Vietnam's progress in combating multidimensional poverty and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), despite challenges posed by the COVID pandemic and global conflicts. He also recognized Vietnam's commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The Special Rapporteur identified three critical areas for improvement: enhancing project approval processes, increasing public participation, and addressing environmental challenges. He expressed concern over the limited civic space and the difficulties faced by marginalized groups, including children, ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities, in participating in decision-making processes. Deva noted that development in remote and mountainous areas, predominantly inhabited by ethnic minorities, remains inadequate, perpetuating poverty and limited access to services.

Highlighting Vietnam's vulnerability to climate change, Deva urged collaborative efforts between the government, UN agencies, development partners, businesses, and NGOs to address the looming crisis and promote sustainable development. He emphasized the importance of participatory approaches that incorporate intersectionality, intergenerational equity, fair distribution, and self-determination principles to ensure a just transition to a green economy. The Special Rapporteur underscored the pivotal role of NGOs and human rights defenders in this transition.

Deva's comprehensive report, including detailed recommendations, will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2024, focusing on enhancing human rights and public engagement in Vietnam's development journey.

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