October 21, 2022
HANOI — Vietnamese citizens in Ukraine are advised to evacuate from major cities as Russia intensifies strikes in the escalating conflict, according to the foreign ministry.
Spokesperson for the ministry Lê Thị Thu Hằng made the announcement on Thursday during the regular press conference in Hà Nội.
“We follow the situation in Ukraine with keen interest and we pay particular attention to the citizen protection measures for the Vietnamese nationals currently residing and working there,” Hằng said.
“As the situation in Ukraine is witnessing new, complicated and unpredictable developments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urgently directed the Embassy of Việt Nam in Ukraine to maintain regular contact with the Vietnamese community in Ukraine in order to grasp the situation and to arrange officials for the citizen protection hotline, and to stand ready to receive information and provide assistance in a timely manner, to discuss and ask competent authorities in Ukraine to have measures to support and ensure the lives, livelihood and properties for the citizens as well as Vietnamese businesses in Ukraine,” the spokesperson remarked.
According to the Vietnamese Embassy, there are currently 500 Vietnamese nationals residing in Ukraine and there have not been any casualties recorded in recent conflicts.
On October 18, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consular Department along with the Embassy of Việt Nam in Ukraine issued recommendations asking the Vietnamese citizens to maintain regular contact with Vietnamese associations as well as the embassy in Ukraine, be ready to take measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including evacuation from major cities and staying away from the danger zones.
The citizens are also asked to contact the competent authorities immediately through the citizen protection hotline of the consular department as well as representative agencies of Việt Nam, in Ukraine and in other neighbouring countries, according to the spokesperson.
With regard to the escalation of conflict in Ukraine, Hằng said Việt Nam “wishes to call upon all parties concerned to resume dialogue, to settle issues by peaceful means, in accordance with international law, especially the fundamental principles including respect for independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
“We also wish that the lives, livelihoods, and properties of people in Ukraine, including those of Vietnamese citizens, are ensured and guaranteed,” the spokesperson noted.
As an active and responsible member of the international community, Việt Nam is willing to contribute to promoting dialogue and seeking a resolution to stabilise the situation for peace and stability in the region and the world, Hằng told reporters.
Workers stranded in Africa
Reporters also raised the question on the Embassy of Việt Nam in Angola’s advisory warning Vietnamese citizens to not be tempted into dubious jobs in some African countries following a row of inquiries for help from stranded Vietnamese nationals.
The spokesperson said the ministry has discussed this matter with the Embassy of Việt Nam in Angola, which is concurrently accredited to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we have received information that the embassy has received requests for assistance and repatriation from Vietnamese nationals residing in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to difficulties with their employers, regarding employment placement, accommodation, and also those who have had their salaries reduced or owed by their employers.
“The Vietnamese Embassy in Angola has worked with competent authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide information and to request that the competent authorities have measures to ensure the livelihoods of Vietnamese workers,” Hằng said, adding that the Embassy of Việt Nam has contacted the Vietnamese community in Congo in order to provide temporary residence for them as they await the resolution of these difficulties.
At the same time, the embassy has issued recommendations for workers to carefully research information before deciding to take up labour contracts in Congo, the spokesperson noted, adding that currently, the situation of the stranded citizens here has seen certain improvements.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has directed the Embassy of Việt Nam in Angola to continue working closely with local competent authorities and employers in order to resolve emerging issues, she said.
The consular department is also told to work with the Vietnamese Embassy in Angola as well as other government agencies in order to implement the citizen protection members in a timely manner.
The spokesperson also urged Vietnamese to figure out all the information necessary before agreeing to work contracts abroad in order to avoid being scammed by illegal brokers, and when problems emerge, contact the Vietnamese agencies abroad directly or through the ministry’s citizen protection hotline.
Human smuggling in Cambodia
Also related to Vietnamese workers overseas, Hằng was asked for comments on the recent case of over 100 citizens tricked into forced labour in Cambodia and held captive in a resort near the Cambodia-Thailand border.
The spokesperson said the area in question falls under the jurisdiction of the General Consulate of Việt Nam in Battambang, Cambodia.
According to the consulate, recently Vietnamese authorities have worked with authorities of some Cambodian provinces in this border area to implement many measures in order to support and rescue Vietnamese nationals who have been illegally scammed and brokered into labour, Hằng said.
From July to September of this year, the General Consulate has helped to rescue and repatriate over 100 citizens from this area.
Since the end of September this year, through surveying in the area, the consulate has worked with local authorities and rescued an additional 171 individuals, Hằng said.
After rescuing the Vietnamese nationals from these illegal business facilities, the General Consulate has sent officials to meet with the victims, and implement citizen protection measures, as well as to provide essentials to these individuals and to support them in finalising procedures for repatriation as soon as possible.
Domestically, the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working with competent authorities in Việt Nam to identify these individuals and to work on receiving them from Cambodia.
The spokesperson said that Vietnamese authorities including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Việt Nam in Cambodia, as well as the General Consulate of Việt Nam in Battambang will continue to work with Cambodian authorities to monitor the area to seek and rescue additional Vietnamese nationals if necessary, and to implement citizen protection measures to safeguard their rights and interests. — VNS