Vietnam elected to UN Human Rights Council for 1st time

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Le Hoai Trung, head of Vietnam's standing delegation at the United Nations (second from right), being congratulated by other countries' delegates after Vietnam was voted to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time. PHOTO COURTESY OF VIETNAM+

Vietnam has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for a period of three years for the first ever time starting January 1, 2014.

The 193-member UN General Assembly voted Vietnam and 13 other countries Algeria, China, Cuba, France, the Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Macedonia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UK  in a secret ballot Tuesday.

Vietnam earned 184 out of 192 votes, the highest among those elected this time.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh as saying Monday that vying for a seat in the HRC is a milestone in Vietnam's efforts to be "a friend, a reliable partner, and responsible member of the international community" and to "actively integrate into the international community." 

He said the efforts reflect the Communist Party and government's consistent policies of respecting and ensuring human rights domestically as well as increasingly cooperating with other countries on such issues.  

Human rights are an important part of the country's Constitution, he said.

As a member, Vietnam would have more opportunity to present its viewpoints and policies, thus countering the dissemination of false information about its democracy and human rights policies, he said.

The 47-seat HRC, established in 2006, is responsible for promoting and safeguarding human rights around the world.

It is made of 13 members each from Africa and Asia, six from Eastern Europe, eight from Latin America and the Caribbean region, and seven from western Europe and others.

Members can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Namibia and Macedonia are also first-time members, while the Maldives was elected for a second term.

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