Workshop seeks ways to protect, promote human rights amid COVID-19

Protecting and promoting human rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic was discussed at a workshop jointly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Hanoi on December 15.

Attended by more than 100 representatives of ministries, departments, and localities, along with research institutes, social organisations, and the foreign diplomatic corps in Vietnam, the workshop marked Human Rights Day on December 10.

Pham Quang Hieu, Assistant to the Foreign Minister,  touched upon the major challenges brought about by COVID-19 in the world and in Vietnam over the last year that have disrupted the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.

In such a context, the Vietnamese Government has rolled out policies and measures in a prompt and transparent manner, aimed at bringing the pandemic under control to protect citizens’ health, while fully implementing international commitments on human rights, including recommendations it accepted under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, Hieu noted.

He affirmed that the Vietnamese Government has paid due attention to protecting and supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic and introduced ideas to bolster international cooperation in battling COVID-19.

Of particular note, the country proposed the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness be observed annually on December 27, in an attempt to raise public awareness and cooperation in epidemic preparedness and fighting.

The resolution was approved by the UN General Assembly on December 7 and co-sponsored by 107 nations.

Vietnam’s commitments and efforts in protecting and promoting human rights, notably the implementation of recommendations under the UPR mechanism, third cycle, were acknowledged in speeches by delegates at the workshop.

Delegates also discussed legal issues surrounding human rights restrictions during the time of the pandemic, the enjoyment of human rights in cyberspace, and the role and contribution of every element in society in observing COVID-19 preventive measures.

They shared information and experience and put forward solutions to protect and promote human rights against the backdrop of COVID-19, which will be integrated into the implementation of recommendations under the UPR mechanism.

The MoFA has joined hands with the UNDP in Vietnam to organise workshops commemorating Human Rights Day since 2015.