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Ambassador denies UN rights body’s statement on protests in Vietnam

Monday, May 16, 2016, 11:19 GMT+7

A statement on recent protests in Vietnam made by the United Nations human rights body is inaccurate, the permanent Vietnamese representative at the world's largest multilateral organization said on Sunday.

Ambassador Nguyen Trung Thanh said the statement by Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made on Friday on the alleged violence carried out against Vietnamese protesters is “inaccurate, unobjective and unverified.”

According to the statement published by the UN Human Rights’ Office of the High Commissioner, Colville said the UN rights body is “concerned about the increasing levels of violence perpetrated against Vietnamese protesters expressing their anger over the mysterious mass deaths of fish along the country’s central coast.”

Colville called on the Vietnamese government to respect the right of freedom of assembly in line with its international human rights obligations.

Ambassador Thanh said the statement lacks objectiveness, accuracy and verification, and expressed his disappointment that the UN rights body made such a hasty response.

The ambassador said Vietnam always respects and ensures the fundamental rights and freedoms of its people, including freedom of assembly and speech, in line with the 2013 Constitution of the country and international standards on human rights.

The Vietnamese envoy pressed that all international conventions, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, state that people’s rights and freedoms must be exercised within the law and without detriment to public order, national security, the morality and health of the community, and the rights and interests of other individuals.

“Based on this spirit, necessary measures were enacted, which is in line with Vietnamese laws and international standards, to ensure traffic order, security and safety for the people, especially the elderly, women and children,” Ambassador Thanh elaborated.

Ambassador Thanh underlined that all moves meant to incite violence, provoke xenophobia or cause disorder that affects people’s life should be stopped within the legal framework for the common good of the community.

In his statement, Ambassador Thanh also addressed the mass fish deaths along the coasts of such central Vietnamese provinces as Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue.

“[Regaring this issue], Vietnam welcomes collaboration from other countries, international organizations, including the UN, in its effort to resolve it in a scientific, objective, friendly and constructive spirit,” he said.

Public order was disturbed in Ho Chi Minh City on May 1 and 8, caused by assemblies of people which the city’s police have since said was plotted by an anti-government organization.

The terrorist organization ‘Viet Tan’ (Vietnam Reform) has caused social disorder at several locations in the southern city in the name of environmental protection, the municipal Department of Police said on Saturday afternoon, citing its investigation.

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