Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam recently delivered a potent speech providing an inspiration for all who work to promote and protect the rights of children in Vietnam.
The Vietnam government has promised the international community that it will respect, protect and promote the rights of youth through its voluntary commitment to uphold the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, he told the audience.
This includes the obligation to take all legislative, administrative and other measures to protect and ensure the rights of children and to develop policies and act in their best interests.
He noted that for the past quarter of a century, the Vietnam government has diligently worked to take concrete actions and create a world in which every child has a healthy and safe childhood, the opportunity to learn and a voice to speak for themselves.
However, while much has been achieved in the protection and promotion of the rights of children since 1990, he said, there are still many in Vietnam who do not fully enjoy their human rights.
The fact remains that more need be done, he underscored, promising continued commitment on the part of the government in line with the UN Convention to ensure a fair chance for every Vietnamese child.
Former Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in turn spoke about the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on February 20, 1990 by the government and highlighted legislative actions that have taken place since then.
Mrs Chuyen specifically noted the Law on Child Protection, Care and Education, approved by the National Assembly in 1991, which was subsequently amended in 2004 and 2015 and talked about how it is the cornerstone of the commitment by the government to the UN Convention.
During the past 25 years, much has been accomplished in advancing the rights of children in Vietnam, said Mrs Chuyen, and the government can be proud of all that it has achieved in many areas.
Most youth in Vietnam have what they need for healthy development, to thrive and to flourish. An estimated 90% of them now receive annual vaccinations to guard against the six most dangerous diseases in the country.
The under the age of five mortality and malnutrition rates have been drastically reduced, she continued, noting that most children of school age now have universal access to free primary and secondary education and regularly attend classes.
Not only are more young people every year now enjoying better health care, but they also are enjoying a higher standard of living as the economy of the country improves and its people move into the lower middle income ranks.
However, in some areas, the government still has a long way to go to adequately protect their fundamental rights, she added, saying some ethnic minority youth and those experiencing mental ill-health are still areas of concern.
The UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, Mr Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, applauded the commitment of the Vietnam government to the rights of children and its efforts to give effect to the UN Convention.
It is my fervent hope, said the UNICEF Representative, that the government continue to make concrete and practical advances to improving the quality of life and fulfil its fundamental obligation to Vietnamese children in the future.