Training programme supports Vietnam in combatting torture
29 Apr 2016 - 10:39
Source: dominiqueb / Flickr

Clingendael Academy recently supported the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security in a whole-of-government training course on the implementation of the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). 

The follow-up training in Hanoi, Vietnam, aimed at facilitating a discussion on the lessons learned from the previous UNCAT training course at the Clingendael Institute in December 2015 and to make these available to a wider audience of stakeholders. Participants included the UNCAT Task Force and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Hanoi Police Department, People’s Police Academy and the People’s Supreme Court.

The overall programme, supported for three years by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is aimed at strengthening Vietnam’s capacity to successfully implement the obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture and to effectively write the reports to the Committee Against Torture. Vietnam ratified the UN Convention in 2015.

The training course was opened by the Head of UNCAT Taskforce Lieutenant-General Nguyen Ngoc Anh. General Anh provided the rationale for Vietnam signing and ratifying the UNCAT and shared details on the steps taken by Vietnam in complying with most provisions, including the amendments to the Police Law, the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Law.

Next, Netherlands Ambassador to Vietnam, Mrs Nienke Troost, underlined the Dutch commitment to supporting Vietnam in the context of ameliorating universal human rights in Vietnam and the region. She also expressed her appreciation for the trust exposed by the Ministry of Public Security to work on UNCAT implementation with the Netherlands.

Finally, former Training and Research Fellow Bart Hogeveen reiterated Clingendael’s role as independent think-tank and academy, providing expertise and support to the Vietnamese government. He also reminded that the cooperation between Clingendael and Vietnam dates back to 2007 when cooperation in diplomatic training started.

The UN Convention
Training and Research Fellow Adriaan Zondag presented the obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture and explained the meaning of the various articles. Upon the request of the Task Force, Mr Zondag provided further details on the Netherlands’ experience in implementing the Convention from 1988 up until today. He also discussed at length the requirements of the reports to be presented to the Geneva-based Committee against Torture and stressed that implementation remains a continuous process.

Training and Education
The training programme Clingendael provides to Vietnam specifically focuses on the training and education obligations under the UNCAT. Article 10 of the Convention obliges States party to incorporate the absolute prohibition of torture in training and education for “law enforcement personnel, civil and military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons”. Hence, a training needs assessment was conducted that identified gaps and opportunities in the professional training of police and other law enforcement officials. 

Next steps
The cooperation with the Government of Vietnam within the framework of this project will take place until the end of 2017. During the coming months of cooperation, attention will shift to the capacity-building aspects of UNCAT implementation, inter alia dealing with reviews of training curriculums, training of trainers and looking at monitoring and evaluation tools.

For more information about this programme, please contact coordinator Mr. Adriaan Zondag.

ANTV (Public Security of the People's Television) reported on the follow-up training (without sound).