Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang on Thursday proposed that the National Assembly ratify the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
The proposal was made in his statement delivered to the ongoing 8th session of the National Assembly on Thursday.
The CAT has been approved by the UN General Assembly in 1984 and 155 states have ratified the convention so far. Ten countries, including Vietnam, have signed the CAT but not yet ratified it.
Following the president’s statement, Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang, authorized by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan dung, delivered a report to the NA on a number of issues related to the ratification of the CAT.
The CAT is an international treaty of the UN on human rights, so Vietnam, as a UN member, should ratify it, the minister said.
However, Vietnam will not directly apply a number of the regulations of the CAT, he added.
Vietnam will not consider the CAT as a direct legal ground for carrying out extraditions, which will be implemented in accordance with Vietnam’s laws and extradition treaties Vietnam has signed or participated in on the basis of reciprocal exchanges, the minister said.
After hearing the President’s statement and the Government’s report, the NA’s Committee for External Relations agreed to the necessity of ratifying the CAT.
“The ratification of the CAT is aimed at better ensuring basis human rights in Vietnam. Becoming an officially recognized party to the convention would act as a foundation for Vietnam to increase talks on human rights with other countries and international organizations, as well as engaging with the UN human rights bodies,” said chairman of the committee Tran Van Hang.
Although Vietnamese laws have yet to list torture as an independent charge, it is mentioned in many articles of the country’s Penal Code (revised in 2009) on many criminal offenses, such as “forcing evidence or testimony,” and “applying corporal punishment,” he said.
Meanwhile, “torture” is clearly defined in the CAT, forming a legal basis for identifying the charge of “torture” in accordance with international norms.
Therefore, becoming a full member of the CAT will help Vietnam improve regulations on charges related to torture in its Penal Code to make them conform to the definition of torture in the CAT, the official said.
On the same day, President Sang also delivered another statement to the NA, proposing the body to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).