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Vietnam’s lawmakers debate protection of human rights of people in detention

Saturday, February 28, 2015, 14:31 GMT+7

Vietnam’s legislators emphasized the need to ensure human rights for those under temporary detention or arrest at their meeting on Friday, the last working day of the 35th session of the National Assembly (NA)’s Standing Committee. At the meeting, which was held to discuss the draft bill on temporary detention and arrest, most of the participants agreed that such a law is essential as it will help protect the legitimate rights and interests of people in temporary detention, as they are not considered to be guilty. The chairman of the NA's Justice Committee, Nguyen Van Hien,  agreed with the need to have the law, requesting that the Government should promulgate regulations on specific rights of people in temporary detention or arrest based on the relevant  provisions of the 2013 Constitution. People who are under temporary detention or arrest are not considered to be guilty, and thus certain civil rights must be ensured, including the rights to safety, health care, information and meeting lawyers and relatives, he said. Such a law will help overcome shortcomings that have been revealed in the past, including incidents of torture and violations of human rights and even deaths of those under temporary detention, the  Vietnam News Agency (VNA) cited the judicial committee as saying. It is necessary to set up a model of detention houses under the management of the Ministry of Public Security’s General Department for Enforcement of Criminal Judgments and Judicial Assistance, and clearly stipulate specific responsibilities of and mutual control between detention houses’ management units and relevant investigation agencies, Hien told the meeting. He stressed that clear responsibilities and mutual control are essential to ensure the safety, health and honor of people under temporarily detention or arrest.  With the same view, Nguyen Doan Khanh, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, said, “there are locations which investigation agencies consider detention houses to be their own ‘warehouse’ where they can enter or exit at any time.” Nguyen Hai Phong, deputy head of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, pointed out that extorting depositions from detainees by using corporal punishment has been common, so it is a must to draft specific regulations on this issue. Meanwhile, chairman of the NA's Law Committee Phan Trung Ly and chairman of the NA's Council of Ethnic Affairs Ksor Phuoc recommended clarifying the difference between temporary detention and temporary arrest in order to ensure the rights of each specific subject.

Regarding the restraining of people’s legs when under temporary detention or arrest, many delegates of the meeting consider this a form of corporal punishment. Deputy Minister of Public of Security Le Quy Vuong, however, said this punishment should be regulated in the bill. “Many countries still use restraints on detainees,” he said. In reality, many suspects are very cruel while being detained and ready to make the best use of any chance to flee from detention, he explained.

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