Thursday, August 13, 2020, 10:18 (GMT+7)

Saturday, July 11, 2020, 11:06 (GMT+7)
Continuing to enhance the search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains

The search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains represent a sacred political task of our entire Party, State, Military and people. To pay tribute to our heroes and martyrs’ great merits and meet the aspirations of martyrs’ relatives and the people across the country, committees, ministries, sectors and localities, with the Military acting as the core fore should continue maintaining close coordination to better perform this sacred political mission.

Promoting the recorded results and experiences, over the years, offices, localities and units have continued to grasp and strictly execute the 11th Politburo’s Directive 24-CT/TW, dated May 15th 2013 on “enhancing the work of searching and collecting martyrs’ remains towards 2020 and beyond” and decisions by the Prime Minister and the National Steering Board 515, while comprehensively, synchronously, drastically adopting groups of measures for implementing the Project on searching and collecting martyrs’ remains (the Project 1237) and the Project on identifying martyrs’ remains (the Project 150).

It is worth noting that the work of leadership, direction, guidance, and inspection has been carried out closely. The work of information and propagation to encourage the provision of information on martyrs and martyrs’ graves has been stepped up, which has helped achieve a consensus, create a spillover effect within the society, and gather many pieces of valuable information. Due attention has been paid to reviewing and completing martyrs’ profiles and lists, building the national database of martyrs and martyrs’ graves, making conclusions on the areas where our soldiers had been buried, and drawing maps to search and collect martyrs’ remains. Up to now, basically, offices, units and localities have completed martyrs’ profiles and lists. Many localities have completed areas-related conclusions at hamlet, commune and district levels. Several localities have managed to make areas-related conclusions at provincial level and draw maps to search and collect martyrs’ remains. International cooperation in searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains and sharing information and experiences has been expanded and fostered, thereby establishing new channels of cooperation to effectively perform this humanitarian work.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Le Chiem, Deputy Head of the National Steering Board 515 addressing the conference to inspect the Military Region 1’s execution of the Project on searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains in 2020 (photo: qdnd.vn)

Despite numerous difficulties, with tireless efforts and great political responsibility of offices, localities and units, particularly cadres and soldiers in charge of searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains, this work has continued to be enhanced and achieved positive results. In 2019, we searched and collected 1,625 martyrs’ remains, including 591 in our country, 239 in Laos, and 795 in Cambodia. We carried out identification of 121 martyrs’ remains using the method of description, performed DNA examination of 496 cases, and succeeded in identifying 31 martyrs. It should be noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole country implemented social distancing measures and focused all resources on epidemic prevention and control; however, localities and units did not let this important work be interrupted. In the first half of 2020, we collected 388 martyrs’ remains (187 in our country, 69 in Laos and 132 in Cambodia). Ceremonies to receive, hand over, and bury martyrs’ remains and announce identification of martyrs have been organised carefully and formally, thus gaining profound political, social and humanitarian significance, upholding the national tradition of “remembering the source when drinking water” and “paying debt of gratitude,” cementing the people’s faith in the Party, the State, and the socialist regime.  

Those achievements clearly demonstrate the entire Party, Military and people’s political resolve and great sentiment for searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains. However, there have been some weaknesses in this work. Several localities and units’ quality of reviewing and completing martyrs’ profiles and lists, making areas-related conclusions and drawing maps has been poor. DNA examination has still taken a lot of time. Coordination between committees, sectors and forces in gathering information, searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains in some localities has yet to be close or effective.

At present, in addition to advantages, the work of searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains is confronted with new, difficult, complex, urgent issues. To accelerate and improve the process of searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains to satisfy the aspirations of martyrs’ relatives and the sentiment of the people all over the country, it is necessary to continue drastically, synchronously taking measures, encouraging the participation of the whole political system, molibising all resources, and promoting the synergy of all sectors, forces, and people both at home and abroad, with a focus on the following.

First, enhance the leadership and direction by the all-level Steering Boards 515, local party committees and authorities, and offices and units’ commands over the search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains. This is a matter of paramount importance to ensuring that the work of searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains, which is of great political, social, humanitarian significance, would be conducted in the right direction and would attain the established goals. In the current situation, sectors, localities, offices and units should keep grasping the Politburo’s Directive 24-CT/TW, the Prime Minister’s decisions and competent offices’ regulations and guidance. Grounded on those documents, they should also strengthen their leadership and direction over this work. Local party committees and authorities, offices and units should proactively review and supplement the targets and measures for implementing the Projects 1237 and 150 properly. Due regard should be paid to well conducting the work of propagation to raise the awareness of sectors, forces and the people towards the search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains. Consideration should be given to detecting and fighting against indifference and hostile forces’ wrong arguments and distortions. More importantly, great value should be attached to consolidating the Steering Boards 515 at military regions and localities after the all-level Party Congresses for the 2020-2025 tenure and the election of deputies to the all-level People’s Councils in 2021. The all-level Steering Boards 515 should continue to maintain their operations, improve the effectiveness of their staff work, foster cooperation, direction and inspection, opportunely grasp difficulties and arising issues, and propose measures for reaching the goals set by the projects. Competent offices of the Ministry of National Defence, especially the Department of Military Policy as the Office of the National Steering Board 515 should continue to cooperate with relevant offices in directing localities and units to step up the work of searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains both at home and abroad. At the same time, they should give instructions to ministries, sectors, localities and units on reviewing the implementation of the Projects 1237 and 150 in the period of 2013-2020 and developing specific plans for the following period.

The search and collection of Vietnamese soldiers’ remains in Cambodia by the Provincial Military Command of Tay Ninh

Second, synchronously adopt measures for accelerating the process of completing martyrs’ profiles and lists, building the database of martyrs, martyrs’ graves and martyrs’ relatives, making areas-related conclusions, and drawing maps to search, collect and identify martyrs’ remains. Doing so will help manage, integrate, update and exchange information, standardise, modernise and improve the search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains in the upcoming time. Sectors and forces should continue to further encourage organisations and individuals both at home and abroad to provide information on martyrs and martyrs’ remains. Importance should be attached to raising the effectiveness of cultural institutions and mass media to attract the participation of all people and social communities, particularly the youth. Localities, offices and units should quickly review and complete martyrs’ profiles and lists under their management, make active contributions to completing the national database of martyrs, martyrs’ graves and martyrs’ relatives, opportunely hand over lists of martyrs according to places of death and initial burial in order to make areas-related conclusions and gradually provide information for martyrs’ relatives. It is important to drastically perform the work of verifying information, and speed up the process of making areas-related conclusions and drawing maps to search and collect martyrs’ remains at all commune, district and provincial levels across the country. Besides, it is essential to proactively exploit, gather, and settle sources of information about martyrs and martyrs’ graves. Localities and units should identify the areas where martyrs’ graves have been searched and exhumed already, the areas where martyrs’ remains have yet to be searched or collected, and the areas where the search and collection of martyrs’ remains have yet to produce any result. Grounded on the identification of areas, they should make conclusions on the areas which would be at the forefront of the search and collection in the upcoming time. To that end, it is vital to apply science and technology, particularly the achievements of the 4th industrial revolution to raising the quality of developing, managing and exploiting the national database of martyrs and martyrs’ graves and drawing maps to search and collect martyrs’ remains.

Third, strengthen the work of searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains. Over the years, thanks to the close leadership, direction and coordination by sectors, localities and units, the people’s support, and the tireless efforts of relevant forces, we have managed to search and collect a large number of martyrs’ remains, thereby achieving a major advance in this work. Nevertheless, there are numerous martyrs’ remains on battlefields. The rate of unidentified remains is still high. The search and collection are increasingly complex as martyrs’ remains are mainly in the places difficult to approach, sources of information are fewer and fewer, terrains are changing considerably, and the number of eyewitnesses is increasingly small. Against that backdrop, localities, offices, and units should more drastically and effectively implement the Projects 1237 and 150, step up the search and collection of martyrs’ remains, with a focus on the areas inside our country, and proactively execute the Project on bomb and mine clearance to search and collect martyrs’ remains in the area of Ha Giang province. Competent offices should closely cooperate with Task Force Committees of the Laotian and Cambodian Governments and authorities of the two countries in searching, collecting and repatriating our martyrs’ remains. Due attention should be paid to effectively running facilities for DNA examination and the DNA database centre and encouraging the participation of other establishments for DNA examination. At the same time, it is necessary to focus leadership and direction on sampling martyrs’ remains on battlefields and graveyards to analyse, make comparisons and integrate into the database of DNA, quickly completing the Procedure for identifying martyrs’ remains, submitting it for approval and applying it. In 2020, we must strive to search and collect 1,500-2,000 martyrs’ remains and succeed in identifying about 600 martyrs’ remains. Additionally, localities should place emphasis on formally organising ceremonies to receive and bury martyrs’ remains and announce the identification of martyrs as well as closely managing the areas so as to prevent the search and collection from going against the regulations.

Fourth, continue to expand and foster international cooperation in the search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains. This is an important measure aimed at combining internal and external resources, speeding up and effectively executing the Projects 1237 and 150, hence building trust with other countries, strengthening humanitarian activities and settlement of war consequences. In this regard, ministries, sectors and localities should continue to adopt measures for expanding and fostering cooperation with relevant countries, organisations and individuals in exchanging and providing documents and information relating to Vietnamese soldiers who were missing or died in the wars, sharing experiences, and transferring technologies and equipment for searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains. When our country is more deeply and widely integrating into the world, it is vital to comply with the Party’s foreign policy and include the issues on exchanging and providing information and sharing experiences in searching missing or dead soldiers in the wars in our Party and State leaders’ diplomatic activities. Furthermore, it is essential to disseminate Vietnam’s guidelines and policies on searching, collecting and repatriating martyrs’ remains, diversify channels of information, and encourage cooperative programmes and initiatives in accordance with the situation. The National Steering Board 515 should continue implementing its exchange programmes with the Task Force Committees of Laos, Cambodia and other countries’ governments (the U.S., South Korea, and Australia, etc.), while developing mechanisms for realising cooperation agreements and raising the quality of this noble humanitarian work.

The search, collection and identification of martyrs’ remains act as a sacred political task that plays a central role in the “gratitude” policy. Grasping our Party and State’s guidelines and heightening the nation’s tradition, the whole Party, Military and people will keep raising their responsibility  and better performing this important work in order to practically pay tribute to martyrs’ great merits and make contributions to consolidating the “posture of people’s hearts and minds,” constructing and firmly protecting the Socialist Vietnamese Homeland.

Sr. Lt. Gen. LE CHIEM

Member of the Party Central Committee

Deputy Minister of National Defence

Deputy Head of the National Steering Board 5151

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1- The National Steering Board on searching, collecting and identifying martyrs’ remains.

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Promoting the role of the Military in protecting the Party, State, people and socialist regime
For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.
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