Monday, August 19, 2019, 10:00 (GMT+7)
August Revolution succeeded marking an important milestone in the promotion of human rights in Vietnam

74 years ago, on August 19th, 1945, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese people staged the August Revolution to liberate the nation, overthrow the colonialism - feudalism regime; regained independence for the country, built a people - owned society in light of Marxism - Leninism and opened a new era of national independence, democracy, equality and civilization.

The August Revolution 1945 succeeded - a rare event in the history of Vietnam and mankind

It can be said that in the history of mankind in general and of Vietnam in particular, very rare social revolutions could meet all three historical demands of a nation at time like the August Revolution 1945. The three demands included: defeated the French invaders and regained national independence; overthrew the half-colonialism half-feudalism regime, liberated the society, and built a democratic political system led by the Communist Party of Vietnam; and built a new State with Constitution that ruled and respected human rights of Vietnamese people.

At the national congress of the Party convened in Tan Trao on August 13th 1945, the Party Central Committee affirmed that “Time for an uprising in Indochina has is ripe” and decided that “We must act immediately, not miss the chance”. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam headed by President Ho Chi Minh, within only 15 days (from August 16th to September 2nd, 1945), our revolutionary forces overthrew the colonialism regime and its feudalist puppet to build a new political system through out the country. On September 2nd, 1945, at the Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi, President Ho Chi Minh read the Independence Declaration, marking the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam). Accordingly, human rights of our people witnessed a historical turning point as from miserable slaves, we became owners of our country and our destiny.

Different from the previous country - founding documents which were based on the patriotic tradition of the nation, the Independence Declaration made by President Ho Chi Minh not only inherited the historical tradition of Vietnamese people but also bore values of the time, i.e. nations are entitled to have independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity and are responsible for ensuring human rights. In the Independence Declaration, President Hi Chi Minh quoted the Independence Declaration (1776) of the U.S, the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen(1789) of the France to imply that: “All nations are born equal. They are entitled to life, happiness and freedom”. Right after gaining power, President Ho Chi Minh and our Party made a decision to build constitution, laws and the rule-of-law State of the people, by the people and for the people. On January 1st, 1946, the interim united government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established which included several noble men and intellectuals, even official of the old regime (Nguyen Hai Than, Vu Dinh Hoe, Nguyen Van To). On January 6th, 1946, a general election took place countrywide in a free, equal and ballot-based principles. Until now, this is still the most equal and modern principle in the world. On January 6th, 1946 the first National Assembly of the country was founded. The compilation of the Constitution was immediately started and headed by President Ho Chi Minh. On November 9th, 1946, the first Constitution of Vietnam was introduced. It was a modern one with new values which are still relevant until today, including the law building technique. It not only ruled the rights of the citizen in all aspects, such as: civil right, political right, economic right, cultural and social rights of Vietnamese people, but also recognized many other human rights, including the rights of foreigners living in Vietnam.

After the revolution, we have built a democratic, rule of law State based on the principle: all people are equal to law. It is said that there is not many revolutions or political parties that uphold the rule of law and respect the rights of citizen like the Communist Party of Vietnam. It did not sustain its revolutionary government for long but established the socialist regime and the rule of law State “of the people, by the people, and for the people” through out the country. Our Party just held the leadership, did not directly control the State. Regarding external affairs, when the allies, led by the U.S, England, and France, defeated the fascism, they agreed on sustaining and redivide the colonies, including Vietnam. However, the success of the August Revolution and the establishment of the socialist regime and our State forced them to withdraw their troops out of Indochina. The emergence of the new regime, and the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam were not the achievement of the colonialist, nor a gift from the allies, but the result after 15 years of evolution of the Communist Party of Vietnam (1930 - 1945), and the result of the right policies and strategies of the Party and the sacrifice of soldiers, people, party members during the arduous and difficult time of the revolution to change the nation’s destiny. Only when a nation becomes independent, can its people enjoy freedom and happiness, and human rights be ensured. This is also the thought and goal that President Ho Chi Minh stated to the world upon the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam which was in the forefront in the struggle for liberating the nation, the society and the people.

The August Revolution generated huge potentials for firmly protecting the independence, national sovereignty - an important precondition for ensuring human rights and citizen’s rights

Following the revolutionary path led by our Party and President Ho Chi Minh and basing on the political values of the Revolution, our nation has firmly protected its achievements. We waged and won the two resistance wars and fulfilled international missions to help our neighbors, namely Laos and Cambodia  gain independence and build new society.

Being persistent with the goal of “Independence - Freedom - Happiness”, creatively applying and developing Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh thought, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, we are building and perfecting the rule of law “of the people, by the people, for the people” State with a socialist-oriented market economy. From a small scale agricultural country stricken by 30 years of wars and blockage, Vietnam has become a middle-income country with GDP growth rate reaching 7.08% and per capita average income reaching USD 2,590 as of 2018. Implementing the open and disciplined foreign policies, up to now, Vietnam has established relations with 189 countries of all continents and have normal relations with all major powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council. Its 12 strategic partners include 5 Asean countries, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Korea, and Australia. Vietnam has also signed the Comprehensive partner Agreement with the U.S. Its prestige and status are increasingly enhanced internationally. On June 7th, 2019, Vietnam, for the second time, was selected as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Member (2020-2021 term) with 192/193 votes, an almost complete consensus.

The socio-economic, defense and security, and external affairs developments have created important preconditions for ensuring human rights and citizen’s rights in Vietnam in all aspects. The 2013 Constitution of Vietnam has ruled all necessary human rights and citizen’s right. In the fast-paced Internet and social networking era, Vietnam’s laws have been updated to provide the best conditions for ensuring human rights and citizen’s rights (Law on Journalism, Law on Access to Information, Law on Cyber security, etc.), in which people’s freedom of thinking, Internet and social network using are protected. To date, Vietnam has fulfilled the millennium development goals since 2015 and acceded to almost all international conventions on human rights, such as: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979),  Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969), Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, etc.

V.I. Lenin once said about the meaning of the October Revolution 1917 that: “When and to what extent to fulfill the cause of the revolution is not important. The importance is the ice has been broke, and the road has been opened”. Our revolutionary cause is the same. Though we are still striving for the goal of national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and building a society of “rich people, strong, democratic, equal and civilized country”, we have attained the necessary preconditions for realizing that goals, i.e. the socialist regime, the rule of law socialist, of the people, by the people, for the people State led by the Communist Party of Vietnam, and the heritage of the August Revolution.

Cao Duc Thai, PhD

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