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Vietnam joins ILC’s study group on sea level rise impacts

Vietnam has taken over the task of building a report on Asian-Pacific countries and the sea level rise issue in relation to international law at the 71st session of the UN’s International Law Commission (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

At the 71st session’s second meeting from July 8 to August 9, the ILC approved draft reports and comments on crimes against humanity, peremptory norms of general international law, and protection of the environment in armed conflicts.

The commission also discussed draft reports on succession of states in respect of State responsibility, immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction, and general principles of law.

Notably, the ILC mulled over and approved a work plan of the study group on impacts of the sea level rise in relation to international law, a new topic in the ILC’s agenda.

Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao, Vietnam’s representative at the ILC, proposed the building of regulations of international law based on the principle of respecting countries’ independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, human rights, and sustainable development.

Facts in Vietnam and the region highlighted by Thao at discussions were highly valued by other ILC members, which also recognised the country’s proposals on the content and legal techniques to complete the ILC’s draft conclusions and principles before they are sent to seek UN member states’ opinions.

Thao voiced the country’s support for the approval of the draft convention on crimes against humanity, commenting that the convention, which recognises the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity, is a peremptory norm of international law.

At the meeting, Vietnam took over the task of building a report on Asian-Pacific countries and the sea level rise issue in relation to international law.

Under climate change impacts, Vietnam and small island countries in the Pacific are most vulnerable to the sea level rise. Therefore, its participation in the study group on this new topic of the ILC is an occasion to reflect its and regional developing nations’ viewpoints on relevant issues and to continue affirming and protecting the important role of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in resolving sea-related issues.

Thao is the first Vietnamese to be elected to the ILC. He was elected for the position for 2017-2021 term at the UN General Assembly in November 2016.