HRMI 2024 Vietnam Human Rights Report: A Worrying Outlook

HRMI 2024 Vietnam Human Rights Report: A Worrying Outlook
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The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) - a non-profit organization - released its annual report on the global state of human rights. Using data collected from various human rights experts all throughout the world, HRMI uses the Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment (SERF) Index and ranks each country’s performance by assigning numerical scores for three main categories: Quality of Life, Safety from the State, and Empowerment.

When compared against its two previous scores for 2022 and 2023, Vietnam’s human rights situation displayed minimal change, a lack of progress, and a worsening, indicating that very little ground has been gained in the country’s defense of civil liberties and political freedom. 

Quality of Life

Vietnam’s performance in terms of quality of life remains “better than average” compared to other countries in the region, which is consistent with data from 2022 and 2023. Vietnam has also displayed slight improvements in the food, housing, and work categories, with housing and work values remaining commendable at 91.6% and 95.7%, respectively. However, the percentage for health dipped to 87.0%, a concerning development given that it was above 90% in 2022 and 2023. 

The 2024 HRMI update for Vietnam also includes statistics on education, which were missing in the two previous years due to a lack of data on secondary education. The country’s score in this area is 96.1%, making it the highest-rated metric under Quality of Life. 

Nevertheless, HRMI notes that in Vietnam, significant portions of the population lack adequate access to and cannot fully enjoy these rights. These include indigenous people, people of particular ethnicities or beliefs, detainees and those accused of crimes, human rights activists, and those with low social or economic status, among others. 

Safety from the State

Regarding Safety from the State, Vietnam nets a score of 4.6/10, a 0.3 drop from its prior score of 4.9. HRMI maintains that many people in the country are not safe from arbitrary arrest, torture, ill-treatment, forced disappearance, execution, or extrajudicial killing. HRMI states that despite a lack of data to perform a regional comparison, in their report, Vietnam is still performing lower than average compared to other countries. 

Vietnam’s metrics for freedom against forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution are the highest in this category at 6.3, ranking them as fair. However, the metrics of freedom from arbitrary arrest, death penalty, torture, and ill-treatment are classified as bad, with scores of 4.3, 4.9, and 4.0, respectively. 

According to HRMI, the groups most at risk from having these rights violated are human rights advocates, those with particular political beliefs or ethnicities, and journalists, among others. 


HRMI gives Vietnam a summary score of 2.3/10 in its latest update, marking a 0.4 decrease from the previous year. The country is also rated very bad in all four metrics under this category. Specifically, Vietnam scores 2.5 for the rights to assembly and association, 2.8 for opinion and expression, 2.7 for participation in government, and 2.4 for religion and belief. These numbers indicate that many people in Vietnam cannot enjoy their civil liberties and political freedoms. 

HRMI states that it does not have sufficient data in the East Asia and Pacific region to make an accurate regional comparison. However, compared to other countries in their report, Vietnam still performs worse than average in terms of its observation of empowerment rights. 

Under this category, at-risk groups include people who protest or engage in nonviolent political activities, human rights activists, people with particular religious beliefs or practices, indigenous people, and journalists. 


HRMI’s latest update clearly shows that Vietnam’s adherence to human rights is on a slow and steady decline. Safety from the State and Empowerment categories reflect a particularly concerning deterioration. While the Quality of Life in Vietnam remains commendable, these benefits are not universally accessible. Those who need these benefits the most are often unable to attain them.

It should also be noted that similar groups face challenges in exercising their rights in all three categories. These include human rights activists, journalists, and individuals with divergent religious or political beliefs. This pattern could be indicative of a governmental approach in Vietnam characterized by oppression and control in response to dissent or criticism.

As it stands, the Vietnamese government continues to tighten the noose around the proper observation and protection of human rights for its people. Despite this, information about these violations continues to reach the global stage, exposing the many transgressions committed by Vietnam’s ruling party. This ensures that when the time comes, their actions and misdeeds will be held accountable in future transnational justice processes within the country.

The HRMI’s human rights tracker can be accessed here.

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