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Jun 23, 2021 / 13:13

Putting people’s health first in pandemic: Vietnam said at UN Human Rights Council

Vietnam said vaccination is one of the measures to enable it to move towards an inclusive post-pandemic recovery.

Vietnam has made utmost efforts to protect the lives and health of people, especially vulnerable groups in the face of Covid-19, a Vietnamese representative affirmed at the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

 Testing Covid-19 in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on June 19, 2021. Photo: HCDC

That priority goes along with maintaining economic growth, said Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, the World Trade Organization, and other international organizations in Geneva.

Mai said that Vietnam’s Fund for Vaccination Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019, which gains support from its businesses and people, is one of the measures that the country has taken to promote its national inoculation strategy towards inclusive post-pandemic recovery.

She made the statement at the four-week session that opened on June 21 in Geneva and via videoconference. Her statement is in line with concerns by UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet on “extreme poverty, inequalities and injustice” in many parts of the world in the last 18 months.

Michelle Bachelet said these are problems that could be addressed if countries take action. She urged UN member states to promote a more inclusive post-pandemic recovery to help the world’s most vulnerable groups recover from the impact of Covid.

She said bold steps will place unprecedented emphasis on the power of human rights to ensure sound and inclusive development, sustainable peace, and societies grounded in trust.

Speaking at the session, Ambassador Tuyet Mai called on countries to help speed up the vaccine production to ensure timely and equal access to vaccines to more people in the joint efforts against the pandemic.

She also expressed Vietnam’s support to the High Commissioner’s work and the UN’s human rights mechanisms, as well as practical and constructive dialogues on human rights issues, while noting human rights should not be issues to criticize nations or interfere in their internal affairs.

Vietnam will also address the council’s 47th session on human rights in climate change as it is one of the challenges facing the countries hardest hit by climate change.

Vietnam plans to participate in a debate on the rights of the elderly amidst climate change. On behalf of the core group comprising Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Vietnam, the Vietnamese representatives will introduce a draft resolution on climate change and human rights in 2021 with a focus on vulnerable groups.

The resolution with different themes for each year has been introduced annually since 2014 to seek the UN Human Rights Council’s approval.

Delivering the speech on the opening day of the session, Michelle Bachelet emphasized that “policies that build social justice also help to develop stronger economies. They drive more inclusive political systems. They deepen trust. They build hope. Policies which support the rights of every individual to make their own choices advance the 2030 Agenda; they are good for communities and nations.”

“The evidence is conclusive: countries that had invested in social protection have been better able to weather the crisis,” she said, adding that a New Social Contract would rebuild public trust “through stronger support for fundamental rights,” she noted.

 Vietnam's Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai (L) and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. Photo: VNA