Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia and Vietnam (Third Cycle)

Joint submissions by HRI, IDPC and ANPUD

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Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia and Vietnam: Joint submissions by HRI, IDPC and ANPUD

The third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations (UN) Member States began in 2017 and will continue until 2021. In this cycle, the 32nd session of the UPR Working Group in January-February 2019 will hold the review of Cambodia and Vietnam. As part of the NGO reporting, the following joint submissions have been made by Harm Reduction International (HRI), International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) on 12 July 2018.

Joint Submission of IDPC and ANPUD for Cambodia

Since the last UPR review of Cambodia in 2014, there are concerns about the nationwide anti-drug campaign launched in January 2017 that would place Cambodia in violation of existing human rights obligations, comprising:

  1. Arresting and detaining people, including women, juveniles and children, in severely overcrowded prison and detention facilities, without adequate standards of treatment or access to medical care, thereby violating their rights to health and to be protected against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and
  2. Denying access to adequate drug treatment and harm reduction services and medical care, by targeting people who use drugs for arrest, detention and incarceration, including women, juveniles and children, in violation of their rights to health and to be protected against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Joint Submission of HRI, ANPUD and IDPC for Vietnam

ANPUD, HRI, and IDPC welcome the opportunity of reporting to the Working Group for the UPR Working Group on the implementation of some key recommendations accepted by Viet Nam in 2014, during the 2nd cycle of UPR. The submission focuses on the performance of Vietnam regarding the implementation of these recommendations, with a specific focus on the alignment of the domestic drug policy with the country’s human rights obligations. Accordingly, it will report on:

  1. The death penalty for drug-related offences;
  2. Availability of quality, accessible and evidence-based drug treatment and harm reduction services, as fundamental components of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
  3. Compulsory reporting and treatment of people who use drugs; and
  4. Stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs.

Basic facts about the UPR 

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process, which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every four and a half years. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.

The UPR assesses the extent to which States respect their human rights obligations set out in: the UN Charter; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; human rights instruments to which the State is party (human rights treaties ratified by the State concerned); voluntary pledges and commitments made by the State (e.g. national human rights policies and/or programmes implemented); and, applicable international humanitarian law.

The reviews take place during the sessions of the UPR Working Group, which meets three times a year. At each session 14 States are reviewed. The documents on which the reviews are based are:

  1. Information provided by the State under review, which can take the form of a “national report”;
  2. Information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities;
  3. Information from other stakeholders including national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Under the third point, the submissions made by community and civil society organizations are added as “other stakeholders” report. Information that we provide can be referred to by any of the States taking part in the interactive discussion during the review at the Working Group meeting. This largely depends on the level of advocacy and lobby done with the reviewing member states after the submission. [1]


[1] Basic facts about the UPR – https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BasicFacts.aspx

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