VietNamNet Bridge – Making comment on the draft amendments to the Constitution, social organizations proposed to establish the National Commission on Human Rights, as a constitutional institution next to the Constitutional Council and the State Audit Agency.
Last week, representatives of 47 social organizations met in a workshop to make comments to the draft amendment of the 1992 Constitution.
At the workshop, Mr. Nguyen Trung, former member of the Prime Minister’s Research Commission, said that amending the Constitution should be seen as an important opportunity for the destiny of the country. Therefore, the goal of the amendment of the Constitution this time is not to adjust a few shortcomings and backwardness of the Constitution but to build a Constitution that meets the new situation both at home and abroad.
According to Nguyen Trung, the current institution has completed the task of economic reform, development in width, and now it needs to innovate to develop in depth. The new institution has to attract the strength of national unity, to cope and adapt to big changes in the world. Therefore, the core issue is to be aware of the current requirements and the period that Vietnam is in.
Mr. Nguyen Xuan Yen, from the Center for Viet Hung Community Development, said that the Constitution must reflect the will, aspirations and the minds of the people. The amended Constitution, thus, has to clarify the views of building the country in the new context instead of just fixing the basic contents.
Mr. Le Quang Binh, Director of the Institute for Social, Economic and Environmental Research, said that the Constitution of a democratic regime should be based on the will of the people, to protect the freedom of the people as well as to limit the abuse of public agencies.
“This draft lacks elements to limit the power of public authorities, so it should be easy to enable these agencies to make regulations impeding a favorable environment for developing the capabilities of individuals and social development,” Binh said.
The representatives of social organizations suggested that the Constitution of a nation should reflect the function of a democratic constitution, ensuring the constitutional rights of the people and ensuring freedom, especially freedom of speech, freedom of establishing associations and gathering. It should also have constitutionalized institutions to handle violations of these rights.
Protection of human rights
Mr. Le Quang Binh noted that one of the major deficiencies of the Constitution 1992, is that the draft this time does not fix the lack of regulations on a specialized agency tasked to protect and promote the human rights. The amended Constitution needs to supplement the provisions on such an agency with independent position, by specifying its components with independent members from social organizations.
Specifically, social organizations proposed supplementing the draft Constitution with the National Commission on Human Rights, as a constitutional institution besides the Constitutional Council, the State Audit, etc. The members of this commission must also have independent status. The addition of this mechanism is also consistent with international standards.
Recommendations of social organizations also said that in the chapter on human rights, it is inscribed the phrase “human rights, civil rights are limited only in cases where it is necessary for reasons of national defense, national security, public order, social safety, morals, health of the community is inappropriate to the principles of international human rights because the restriction can only apply to a certain number of rights.”
A number of human rights (the right to live, the right to be free from torture, from inhumane treatment or humiliation …) are absolute rights that shall not be limited under any circumstances or for any reason. The restrictions, if being applied to other rights must not be abused and must comply with international human rights standards.
They also proposed to remove the phrase “prescribed by law” in all things related to absolute rights.