Facing unpredictable developments of many regions in the world, the protection of citizens has always been carried out by Vietnam under the motto "Active, timely, quick and effective protection".
Proactively follow up on instable developments
In 2019, the international security situation changed rapidly, complicatedly and unexpectedly with many risks, crises, natural disasters spreading over most regions of the world. Along with that is the presence of Vietnamese citizens in nearly 200 countries and territories for the traveling, residing, working, studying purposes, so the frequency of risks and distress abroad increased, making great challenges for the protection of Vietnamese citizens abroad.
The truck with 39 Vietnamese victims found in Essex, the UK in October 2019.
The situation in the East Sea continued to be complicated, not only strengthening the presence in the field, many countries threatened to use force and used force to seize fishing vessels and fishermen in overlapping, undefined sea areas.
In such contexts, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam proactively followed the instable developments in many regions of the world and in the East Sea; timely formulating plans and implementing the protection of citizens and fishermen at sea in accordance with international law and Vietnamese law.
According to statistics of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2019 is recorded as the year with the increase number of cases of citizen protection, with 13,643 citizens, 1,760 fishermen/206 fishing vessels protected; 961 fishermen assisted in terms of procedures to return home after being expelled by foreign parties; 36 ships/408 fishermen in distress at sea supported to shelter from storms or be rescued at sea.
The citizen protection switchboard received and answered 5,400 incoming calls (an increase of about 31% compared to 2018) and there were 687,956 international roaming messages providing citizens' hotline to protect citizens when leaving the country.
Ambassador Vu Viet Anh, Director of the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: Looking back to 2019, it can be said that the protection of citizens is one of the positive points in implementing functions and tasks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Cases, especially key, complicated and unprecedented cases, were handled promptly and completely with high efficiency, which were appreciated by the public and people.
The most important cause of this success is the efforts of the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local ministries and branches as well as the devotion and sense of responsibility of the officials who directly handled cases and overseas Vietnamese representative agencies. The most prominent cases include the bombing and terrorism on a bus carrying 15 Vietnamese tourists in Cairo, Egypt in January 2019, the case of Doan Thi Huong in Malaysia in March-May 2019, the case of 39 Vietnamese citizens died in truck in the UK in October 2019.
Effective operation of the Citizen Protection Fund
Doan Thi Huong
An equally important cause that creates a positive highlight in the protection of citizens in 2019 is also a positive contribution of the Citizen Protection Fund.
This is a fund established and operated by the Government on the principle of deposits, paying in advances and arrears later, similar to the provisions of the protection of citizens of other countries in the world. This principle has helped timely support Vietnamese citizens when they encounter difficulties in foreign countries that they cannot overcome themselves at that time as well as repatriate Vietnamese citizens quickly and smoothly. In 2019, the Citizen Protection Fund effectively used the fund to bring 523 citizens and fishermen who were imprisoned and faced difficulties abroad home, mainly fishermen in the provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Kien Giang and Quang Ngai.
The world in 2020 continues to be predicted with many unpredictable risks, the East Sea will still be a hot area, along with increasingly sophisticated activities of related crime types, especially the crime of illegally taking migrants abroad, which will continue to be the major challenges.
According to Mr. Vu Viet Anh, in 2020 the protection of citizens should be implemented in the direction of: attaching importance to proactive preventive measures; performing propaganda and warnings to people at the grassroots level; promptly, professionally and effectively handling arising cases on the basis of Vietnamese law, in accordance with international law and relevant countries' laws.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has prepared a plan to propagate and implement the Global Agreement on Legal, Safe and Orderly Migration (GCM), condemning illegal migration and illegal acts in foreign countries. Besides, information technology will also be studied and integrated into the processing of citizen protection operations.
Compiled by Hoang Anh