Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue
22/8/2016 - Australian and Vietnamese officials discussed a number of issues of mutual interest and concern, including legal reform, rule of law, protection of freedoms and human rights, protection of the rights of vulnerable groups and bilateral and multilateral cooperation, during their 13th annual senior-officials level Human Rights Dialogue on 4 August.
Australia commended Vietnam on progress in many aspects of human rights promotion and protection, including recent positive reforms in the area of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) rights, removal of the death penalty for seven crimes in the revised Penal Code and more broadly, Vietnam’s impressive achievements in lifting millions of people out of poverty.
While both sides agree that we have much in common on our approaches to human rights protection – including most importantly our readiness to make improvements – we also agreed that each side had more work to do. Vietnam raised concern about social inequality for Indigenous Australians, and some aspects of Australia’s national security legislation.
In addition to the official dialogue, the Australian delegation was received by Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Mr Bui Thanh Son. During this meeting we discussed future bilateral cooperation on human rights.
The Australian delegation also met a number of civil society representatives to discuss a range of issues, including LGBTI, gender, freedom of expression, religious issues and more.
The dialogue is a key element in our mature bilateral relationship and a symbol of the friendly and frank nature of our engagement. The Australian delegation was led by Dr Lachlan Strahan, Head of Multilateral Policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and included officials from DFAT, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Federal Police.