Opportunities and constraints on human rights education when academic freedom is not guaranteed: the case of Vietnam
In Vietnam, academic freedom is not guaranteed. This is especially so in relation to politically sensitive subjects such as human rights. This paper discusses how human rights education (HRE) can develop in such contexts. The Government of Vietnam is a signatory to various UN treaties and, consistent with its obligations, has encouraged the development of specialist human rights degree programmes and the introduction of human rights content into other degree programmes. The paper considers government’s role in course approval processes, discussing how political sensitivities are addressed and state monitoring operates to restrict academic freedom. It finds that, subsequent to the Government of Vietnam ratifying international human rights treaties, there is a softening of the ideology that ‘human rights’ are an alien concept in a socialist state. The need for HRE and greater academic freedom are recognised, yet HRE is largely restricted to higher education institutions where its implementation is monitored.
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