The 53rd Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) begins today [Monday, 10 November 2014] with a review of Viet Nam this afternoon.
November 10, 2014
The 53rd Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) begins today [Monday, 10 November 2014] with a review of Viet Nam this afternoon. The Committee is composed of 18 experts from member states who will review Viet Nam based on its compliance and progress on implementing the terms of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which Viet Nam has signed and ratified. Viet Nam is presenting its second to fourth report to the CESCR.
For this occasion, UNPO has submitted an Alternative Report to the CESCR focusing on the situation of its members: the Khmer Krom, the Degar Montagnard and the Hmong who are minority groups and indigenous people living within the territory of Viet Nam. The Alternative Report focuses on evaluating the Vietnamese Government’s compliance with the ICESCR and documents the human rights violations perpetrated by the Vietnamese Government. It notes that the Khmer Krom, Degar and Hmong endure systemic discrimination and face regular violations and deprivation of their rights to self-determination, the right to work, right to adequate standard of living, right to health and the right to education. Viet Nam’s failure to even recognize the status and existence of indigenous people living within its territory allows these violations and discrimination to continue unabated.
UNPO sincerely hopes that this 53rd Session of the CESCR will provide an occasion for Viet Nam to stand accountable for these violations, provide the motivation to address key challenges and afford the Khmer Krom, Degar and Hmong their basic human rights. After examining the situation in Viet Nam and the progress made by the Vietnamese government in implementing the ICESCR, this report concludes with the following recommendations for the government of Viet Nam to ease the suffering and discrimination suffered by the Khmer Krom, Degar and Hmong:
- Recognize the Khmer Krom and the Degar as indigenous peoples of Viet Nam, and respect the distinct right afforded to them by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People;
- Ensure a higher political representation of the Khmer Krom, Degar and Hmong at the local and national levels;
- Investigate and end uncompensated confiscation of indigenous lands;
- Take immediate action to monitor and stop corporate industrial activities that are harmful for the environment and its inhabitants, and develop an adequate legal framework for environmental protection;
- End resettlement policies of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples;
- Take immediate action to end arbitrary arrests of religious and spiritual leaders, as well as human and land right activist.
- Implement the housing registration system without discrimination and issue identity documents to everyone regardless of their faith;
- Develop poverty-alleviation programs specifically targeting regions and communities where regional ethnicities reside, focusing on the needs of indigenous people;
- Address the significant disparity in health and living standards between regions populated by minorities and majorities, including providing remote geographical areas with adequate health care facilities and fighting child malnutrition;
- Investigate the health effects of the bauxite mining projects in the Central Highlands;
- Increase opportunities for instruction in minority languages in primary and secondary schools;
- Take action against the lack of enrollment and the high dropout rates from primary and secondary schools among the indigenous and minority groups;
- Allow all independent religious organizations to freely conduct religious activities and govern themselves;
- Amend the laws that criminalize religions not recognized by the government;
- End campaigns aimed at reducing the followers and the spread of minority religions;
- Investigate the level of awareness among the people with regards to their social, economic and cultural rights.