Promoting inner strength and the rising spirit among ethnic minority communities

Today (December 4), the second National Congress of Vietnamese Ethnic Minorities, themed “Under the Party’s glorious flag, all ethnic groups are equal; unite, respect and help each other; and promote inner strength to develop together with the country”, takes place in a joyful and exciting atmosphere imbued with the spirit of great national unity.
December 04, 2020 | 14:36
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General view of the second National Congress of Vietnamese Ethnic Minorities. (Photo: NDO)

The congress will review the achievements and outcomes in the implementation of ethnic policies and ethnic affairs in the 2010-2020 period, thence drawing lessons of experience to continue improving ethnic policies and proposing orientations, goals, tasks and solutions in ethnic affairs for 2021-2030. The congress is a forum for ethnic minorities to promote mutual learning and experience exchange, and also acts as an extensive socio-political activity aimed at raising awareness and consolidating trust and consensus among them. Moreover, this is an opportunity to recognise ethnic communities’ significant contributions in the cause of hunger eradication, poverty reduction, new rural development, infrastructure development, implementing ethnic policies, national construction and defence, and international integration.

Vietnam is home to 53 ethnic minority groups with more than 14 million people, who are residing in communities across 51 cities and provinces nationwide, mainly in the Northwest, Central Highlands, Southwest and West Central Coast regions. Over the past years, thanks to the special attention of the Party and the State and the effective implementation of ethnic policies, the ethnic minority and mountainous areas have attained significant achievements in all fields of social life. Socio-economic infrastructure has been strengthened, gradually meeting the development needs and contributing to creating a new face for the region. Infrastructure, especially road traffic, irrigation and telecommunications, has developed to the district level and is gradually moving towards communes and villages. The cause of education-training and healthcare for the people here has made great progress, while traditional ethnic cultural values have been preserved and promoted. Equal rights between ethnic groups have been guaranteed, while the solidarity between ethnic communities continues to be further enhanced. In addition, the grassroots political system in ethnic minority and mountainous areas has been strengthened, with the contingent of cadres increasingly meeting the requirements and tasks.

The Vietnamese ethnic groups were closely tied together in the previous cause of national construction and defence and have become more and more closely linked and united in the current cause of national construction. The confidence of ethnic minorities in the leadership of the Party and State has been constantly strengthened; social consensus has increased; and the great national unity bloc has been further consolidated. The above-mentioned achievements are a solid foundation contributing to improving the intellectual level and living standards for ethnic minority groups.

Along with the important achievements, ethnic minority communities are still facing a lot of difficulties, such as the low quality of human resources, the slow socio-economic development, the limited access to basic social services, and the high poverty rate. There remain ethnic minority households without access to power from the national grid. Besides, ethnic minorities are living mainly in border, remote and isolated areas with underdeveloped infrastructure and poor socio-economic conditions. Obsolete customs and practices still persist in some places. Part of authorities have inadequate awareness of the role, position and importance of ethnic affairs, thus yet to fully tap into the people’s inner strength in the implementation of ethnic policies.

To deal with the aforementioned reality, the Party, Government, and National Assembly have adopted and issued many important policies, decisions, decrees and resolutions towards ethnic minorities. Most recently, on June 19, 2020, the National Assembly issued Resolution No. 120/2020/QH14, approving the investment policy of the National Target Programme for socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the 2021-2030 period. The key objectives are to basically address the shortage of houses, residential land, production land and domestic water by 2025; to make stable arrangements for the people in extremely difficult areas, especially the areas highly prone to natural disasters; to develop agricultural and forestry production and ensure stable income and sustainable livelihood for people from forest protection and development; to focus on developing education and training and improving the quality of human resources; to care for the people’s health and the prevention and control of child malnutrition; and to pay attention to praising and honouring outstanding examples. The Prime Minister has issued a plan to implement this Resolution, which specifies the content of work, the deadline and progress, and the responsibilities of agencies and organisations concerned.

In addition, the whole political system should continue to thoroughly grasp the importance of ethnic affairs, thereby providing support and favourable conditions for ethnic minorities to study and further develop in terms of intellectual, culture and healthcare. Attention should also be given to developing human resources and building the contingent of ethnic minority cadres. The contingent of cadres engaged in ethnic affairs should grasp the thoughts and feelings of ethnic minority communities and mobilise them to abide by the Party’s guidelines and policies and the State’s law. It is also necessary to develop Party members among the ethnic minorities and address the situation of having no Party organisations and Party members in villages and hamlets. Localities, ministries and sectors need to arouse the spirit of overcoming difficulties among the ethnic minority groups, while implementing more concrete, practical and timely activities to accompany them in labour, production and life.

Most importantly, ethnic minorities all over the country should unanimously join hands to build an increasingly wealthy, civilised and modern community of Vietnamese ethnic groups.

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