Vietnam takes important step by signing Convention against Torture
Vietnam became, on 7 November 2013, the latest country to sign the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT).
According to news media, ambassador Le Hoai Trung, who signed the treaty on behalf of the Vietnamese government, stated that the signature is an expression of the government's strong dedication to fight torture and other ill-treatment in Vietnam as well as upholding human rights in the country. He also asserted that the signing of the Convention represents Vietnam as "an active and responsible member of the international community", that will further allow that "competent authorities of Vietnam continue to raise the knowledge, complete and perfect the legal system, contributing more and more to guarantee respect for human rights in the country".
This signature marks an important step towards ratification. Vietnam could become the 6th State party to the UNCAT in the ASEAN region, in the company of Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia and Laos. Philippines and Cambodia are the only two countries in the region that have ratified the Optional Protocol to Convention against Torture.
The positive move by the Vietnamese government indicates the ever-growing interest and commitment from ASEAN member states to be part of the global effort to prevent torture by adopting and implementing international human rights treaties. About a week before Vietnam signed the treaty, the 2nd Jakarta Human Rights Dialogue pioneered a very important discussion amongst government representatives, NHRIs and civil society in ASEAN on the importance of prevention and of establishing a united regional voice against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
It is without doubt that the signing of UNCAT by Vietnam is a timely effort in the region, which will continue to enhance the present interaction, momentum and cooperation in ASEAN towards creating a torture-free community.