By Country Torture Prevention

Viet Nam: UN Committee against Torture considers the initial report of Viet Nam

Even Communist Vietnam ratified the UNCAT which India consistently refuses to do despite signing the same in 1997.

On 15 November 2018, the UN Committee against Torture concluded its consideration of the initial report[1] of Viet Nam on the efforts made by the State party to implement the provisions of the Convention against Torture.[2]

Introducing the report, Quy Vuong Le, Deputy Minister of Public Security of Viet Nam, said that chapter two of the national Constitution of 2013 contained articles on human rights and the fundamental rights and responsibilities of citizens which also included the right not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. Other than these Constitutional provisions, the right not to be subjected to torture was also guaranteed in various legal acts in the areas of criminal, administrative and civil justice.

He also informed that the National Assembly had in 2015 amended many important laws and regulations pertaining to the prevention of torture, including the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Law on the Organization of Criminal Investigation Agencies, the Law on the Execution of Temporary Custody and Detention, as well as bilateral agreements with third countries on extradition and transfer of sentenced persons. He conceded that though the 2015 Criminal Code did not define a separate offence of torture, it however, did define crimes such as “the use of corporal punishment” and “obtaining testimonies under duress” as offences that in their nature constituted torture.[3]

During the course of discussion, the Committee experts noted that while the right not to be tortured was stated in the Constitution, there was no separate provision on the offence of torture or the definition of torture. They inquired whether the State party had any plans to make the provisions on compliance with superiors’ orders in line with the Convention, and whether the amended Criminal Code of 2015 had led to more prosecution of cases of torture.[4]

The Committee informed that it had received several reports indicating that torture, police brutality and deaths in custody remained prevalent in the country.  They noted that the deprivation of liberty could take place in reformatories, re-education camps and compulsory detoxification centres without a trial or safeguards, and asked the State party to ensure that detention in those institutions was not used as a surrogate for ordinary criminal detention.[5]

The Experts further inquired about the statute of limitation, pre-trial detention, the right to legal counsel, registration of persons deprived of liberty, medical staff working in the penitentiary system, an oversight mechanism for the police, the application of non-refoulement, stateless persons, Vietnamese citizens seeking political asylum abroad, prisoners of conscience, prison conditions, death in custody, cooperation with civil society, training for public servants on human rights, legal status of the Public Prosecutor, impartiality of judicial proceedings, arbitrary detention and secret detention, the right to lodge complaints, reparations, inadmissibility of evidence obtained through torture, and the rights of minorities.

In his concluding remarks, the Deputy Minister of Viet Nam assured that the delegation had understood the observations and comments of the Committee Experts, and noted that Viet Nam was well aware of its obligations under international instruments. He also invited the Committee Experts to visit the country.


[1]. The initial report of VietNam is available at:

[2]. Committee against Torture considers the initial report of Viet Nam, OHCHR, 15 November 2018,

[3]. Committee against Torture considers the initial report of Viet Nam, OHCHR, 15 November 2018,

[4]. Committee against Torture considers the initial report of Viet Nam, OHCHR, 15 November 2018,

[5]. Committee against Torture considers the initial report of Viet Nam, OHCHR, 15 November 2018,

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