The Human Rights Report also highlighted positive developments.
The State Department recently released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 for Vietnam. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Uzra Zeya, at the release of the 2013 Human Rights Report, said, “We continue to call on the Government of Vietnam at the highest levels to make progress to comply with its international human rights obligations and commitment, and we’ve made clear that doing so will allow us to further the bilateral relationship.”
According to the report, in Vietnam, “the most significant human rights problems ... continued to be severe government restrictions on citizens’ political rights, particularly their right to change their government; increased measures to limit citizens’ civil liberties; corruption in the judicial system and police; and limit of freedom of speech and press.”
The Human Rights Report also highlighted positive developments. In 2013, “a lively public debate about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights took place” throughout Vietnam. While the U.S. government continues to call on the Vietnamese government to allow all Vietnamese citizens to exercise their right to freedom of religion, this year’s Report noted that the Vietnamese government registered 115 Protestant church congregations, a significant increase compared to previous years.
Additionally, the Government of Vietnam signed the UN Convention Against Torture in 2013 and recently granted amnesty to prisoners of conscience Nguyen Huu Cau and Ding Dang Dinh.
“I’m truly inspired by the civil society activists that I’ve met with in many of the countries I’ve been to – in Hanoi, for instance – people who are standing up for their fundamental rights to speak out and to associate freely,” Secretary Kerry said. “Some of the greatest accomplishments in expanding the cause of human rights have come not because of legislative decree or judicial fiat, but through the courageous acts of individuals.”