Australia and Vietnam agrees to cooperate on human rights legislations

Australian authorities raised the issue of Chau Van Kham detention during Australia-Vietnam 16th Annual Human Rights Dialogue in Canberra

BYYasir Rehman

Prime Minister Morrison with his Vietnamese counterpart during his recent visit to Hanoi

Australia and Vietnam have agreed to consider collaboration to ensuring the compatibility of new legislation with human rights obligations. In this regard both sides exchanged  information on the implementation of relevant legislation.

Issue was discussed in length during Australia-Viet Nam 16th Annual Human Rights Dialogue in Canberra, said a statement issued by DFAT.

During the crucial dialogue both sides exchanged their respective approaches to the death penalty. The two sides highlighted the importance of balancing national security, public safety and the protection of human rights in line with their respective obligations under treaties to which they are parties.

Annual Human Rights Dialogue was held soon after Prime Minister Scott Morrison visit to Vietnam in August 2019.

Australia’s bilateral relationship with Vietnam has deepened significantly, upgrading to a strategic partnership in 2018.

Ahead of the 16th human rights dialogue, Human Rights Watch urged the Australian government to press the Vietnam government to respect human rights during the dialogue.

The Vietnamese government has detained Chau Van Kham, an Australian citizen and pro-democracy activist, since January. He is being investigated for alleged offenses under Vietnam’s sweeping national security laws, including attempting to “overthrow the state”. It is understandable that Australian authorities has raised the issue of Chau Van Kham detention during the meeting.

During the discussions on Human Rights, Australia provided updates on its Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Australia outlined its approaches to respond to the finding of these Royal Commissions.

Viet Nam provided an update on its legal reform process, particularly recent adoption of new legislation related to human rights and its plans to revise its Labour Code, as it works to implement all International Labour Organisation conventions it had ratified.

Australian officials provided an update on Australian membership of the Human Rights Council and update on preparations for Australia’s Third Cycle Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in 2020.

Viet Nam delegation provided an update on its plans to implement recommendations received during its Universal Periodic Review in January 2019. Viet Nam outlined priorities for its term on the UN Security Council in 2020-21 and as ASEAN Chair in 2020, including initiatives on climate change and the rights of vulnerable groups.

Both sides also discussed implementation of Australian Government-funded technical assistance programs as well.

The 17th Human Rights Dialogue will be held in Hanoi in 2020.

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