Viewing cable 04HANOI2888
Title: VIETNAM: AMBASSADOR'S CALL ON MOLISA MINISTER HANG

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04HANOI28882004-10-25 10:01:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Hanoi
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002888 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR DRL/IL AND EAP/BCLTV 
STATE PASS USDOL ILAB LI ZHAO, BBUI 
STATE PASS USTR FOR EBRYAN, BCLATANOFF 
STATE PASS USAID FOR ANE/KUNDER AND ANE-SPO BRADY 
STATE ALSO PASS USAID FOR ANE/KENNEDY 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB EAID ECON VM HIV AIDS LABOR TIP
SUBJECT:  VIETNAM: AMBASSADOR'S CALL ON MOLISA MINISTER HANG 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED 
 
¶1.   (SBU) Summary:  In an October 21 meeting with the 
Ambassador, Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs 
(MOLISA) Madame Nguyen Thi Hang expressed hope that the 
Department of Labor would continue and expand its projects in 
Vietnam and gratitude for the selection of Vietnam as a 
President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) country. 
She also described recent steps taken to improve protection 
of Vietnamese working abroad.  Minister Hang responded 
positively to the Ambassador's offer of assistance in further 
strengthening Vietnam's legal framework in combating 
trafficking and ensuring export labor protections, and called 
for other assistance in the area of labor market development 
through increased foreign investment. In the context of 
discussing the rights of workers and persons living with 
HIV/AIDS, Minister Hang stressed the attention that the 
Vietnamese Government gives to the issue of human rights and 
invited the Ambassador to visit local pagodas and churches to 
observe this first hand.  End Summary. 
 
Cooperation 
----------- 
 
¶2.   (SBU) Minister Hang began by expressing gratitude for 
the excellent cooperation on labor between the United States 
and Vietnam, in particular regarding the U.S. Department of 
Labor projects.   The Minister said that there was a need to 
expand these labor projects to include areas such as 
employment and vocational training, noting the increasing 
demand for skilled labor by U.S. and other foreign firms. 
She said that she looks forward to more projects with DOL. 
Minister Hang strongly emphasized the importance of releasing 
pressures on the workforce by creating more jobs through 
increased foreign investment and welcomed support from the 
United States in this area. 
 
¶3.    (SBU) Minister Hang voiced great appreciation for 
President Bush's decision to name Vietnam an Emergency Fund 
focus country as she sees the primary challenge in combating 
HIV/AIDS as a shortage of resources. (Note: A large portion 
of funding targeted to HIV/AIDS is channeled through the 
Ministry of Health, and not enough funding is used to support 
human management capacity with sound technical expertise at 
the central and provincial levels. End Note.) While the 
Minister noted that the other main challenge of HIV/AIDS in 
Vietnam is the lack of understanding about the nature of 
transmission of the virus, which leads to stigma and 
discrimination, she did not reply to the Ambassador's 
question on planned changes to the Labor Code to prevent 
HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination in the workplace. 
(Note:  While the characterization by Minister Hang regarding 
the lack of understanding about HIV/AIDS contributing to 
stigma and discrimination is true, until recently it has been 
the official position of the GVN that HIV/AIDS is associated 
with social evils.  This position has changed over the last 
year and the removal of stigma and discrimination is 
addressed in Vietnam's National Strategy on HIV/AIDS 
Prevention and Control in Vietnam until 2010 with a Vision to 
2020 that was released in April 2004.  End Note.) 
 
¶4.   (SBU) In the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Minister listed 
MOLISA's key priorities:  to create jobs for persons with 
HIV/AIDS, to develop policies to support them, and to support 
their treatment, especially in the 05/06 centers.  (Note: 
The issue of treatment in 05/06 centers is critical, as up to 
70 percent of intravenous drug users are HIV positive in some 
provinces, and the majority of known HIV positive drug users 
are in rehabilitation centers. This is a major challenge in 
implementing the PEPFAR initiative, as current USG policy 
does not allow for programs to work with populations in these 
rehabilitation centers.  End Note.) 
 
Trafficking and Export Labor 
---------------------------- 
 
¶5.   (SBU) When asked about recent developments in 
regulations to prevent involuntary servitude and other abuses 
of export laborers, Minister Hang stated that trafficking is 
covered in Vietnam's Criminal Code and was not a Labor Code 
issue.  However, when pressed about the status of a proposed 
new export labor law, she referred to some articles in the 
Labor Code and Decree 81 that address export labor and 
protect workers overseas, and added that the Government has 
proposed to include a Law on Labor Export in the National 
Assembly's law making program for 2005. (Note:  The articles 
in the Labor Code address export labor were amended in 2002 
and Decree 81 was promulgated in July 2003.) 
¶6.   (SBU) Minister Hang noted three priority training areas 
for overseas workers:  specific jobs skills, orientation 
about receiving countries (on culture and environment) and 
language.  In response to the Ambassador's comments about 
export workers needing to be informed about their rights 
under both Vietnam's and receiving countries' laws, she 
pointed out that Vietnam now assigns a Labor Officer in the 
Vietnam Embassy in key receiving countries.  The Minister 
thanked the Ambassador for providing a translation of a study 
on efforts by the United States to combat trafficking in 
persons and welcomed the Ambassador's offer to assist Vietnam 
in developing new laws to combat trafficking and protect 
export laborers. 
 
Other Legal Reform 
------------------ 
 
¶7.   (SBU) Minister Hang claimed that Vietnam has and 
continues to prioritize developing a regulatory framework to 
assist and protect workers both at home and abroad.  MOLISA 
will submit to the National Assembly by the end of 2004 a Law 
on Social Insurance the covers all sectors and will also 
submit new amendments on strikes.   The Minister also 
confirmed MOLISA's cooperation with the ILO but did not 
provide any details on this work.  (Note: The ILO has 
confirmed that the Declaration meeting scheduled for this 
month has been delayed.  ILO source also mentioned that 
Vietnam has ratified a number of core Conventions of the ILO 
Declaration and is moving toward ratifying remaining 
Conventions.)   A final area the Minister addressed was in 
response to a question from the Ambassador regarding lifting 
the 3 percent cap on foreign workers in enterprises. 
Minister Hang noted that MOLISA is still awaiting a decision 
on the decree. 
 
¶8.   (SBU) Comment:  Minister Hang warmly welcomed further 
cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor and assistance 
from the United States to increase foreign investment and 
develop Vietnam's legal framework to combat trafficking.  The 
Minister, however, did not appear to be well versed on a 
number of topics.  She needed prompting that the Declaration 
of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work was ILO related, 
failed to elaborate on new regulations and developments on 
labor export and protection of overseas workers that have 
appeared in recent press reports, and either did not answer 
questions or needed to be pressed on questions on Labor Code 
reform.  End Comment. 
 
MARINE