On Mar 29, 2013, representatives on behalf of civil society organizations and seven vulnerable social groups submitted three proposals for the 1992 Constitution Amendments to the Constitution Amendments Committee at the National Assembly Office at 37 Hung Vuong St, Ha Noi. The representatives included staff from iSEE, Ms Ngo Thu Ha – vice director of Center for Education Promotion and Empowerment for Women CEPEW, Ms Pham Kim Ngoc – director of Research Centre for Gender, Family and Environment in Development CGFED, Ms and Nguyen Hoang Oanh – director of IDEA center. The three proposals were received by Mr Phan Trung Ly – Chair of Law Committee and Member of the Constitution Amendments Committee.
The three proposals included proposal from seven socially vulnerable groups, proposal from the LGBT community, and proposal from civil society organizations.
The proposal from seven socially vulnerable groups synthesizes opinions of 980 citizens living in thirteen provinces and cities. These groups include the disabled, the HIV positive, migrant workers, youth, women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBT community. The proposal was compiled through community consultation meetings carried out by 17 civil society organizations in two months, from January to March 2013. The proposal focuses on Chapter 2 “Human Rights” because these groups are the most vulnerable in society and need protection.
The proposal from the LGBT community was formulated after two in-depth consultations with 41 individuals within the community, belonging to diverse age groups and occupations – including lawyers, government workers, office workers, businessmen, and students – and one in-depth group interview with parents of LGBT youth. Additionally, an online survey also received contribution from 1000 citizens and supporting signatures of 2500 other citizens from different provinces in the country. The proposal emphasizes gender equality – clause 27, and marriage rights – clause 39 in Chapter 2 of the Constitution Amendment Draft. In particular, the proposal recommends an additional right not yet included in the draft, the Right to control one’s own body.
The proposal from civil society organizations network integrates views and assessments from 35 civil society organizations working with different beneficiaries groups throughout the country. This proposal emphasizes clause 26 – freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of information, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.
At the meeting, Mr Le Quang Binh, director of iSEE, also presented the idea of forming a National Human Rights Committee. He said: “There needs to be a Human Rights committee to protect legislative and veto rights of citizens, on the principle of equality and non discrimination. The creation of this Committee will advance and protect human rights in Vietnam.”
On behalf of the Constitution Amendments Committee, Mr Phan Trung Ly thanked civil society organizations: “The Committee appreciates the contribution of civil society organizations in collecting public opinion. We welcome opinions from our citizens and will examine these proposals. In case that these proposals are not passed, the Committee will issue an official document explaining the rationale.”
Here are some photos from the meeting: