The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an authoritarian state ruled by a single party, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), and led by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President Tran Dai Quang, and Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. The most recent National Assembly elections, held in May 2016, were neither free nor fair, despite limited competition among CPV-vetted candidates.
Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
The most significant human rights issues included: arbitrary and unlawful deprivation of life; torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; arbitrary arrest and detention of persons peacefully expressing dissent; systemic abuses in the legal system, including denial of access to an attorney, visits from family, and fair and expeditious trial; government interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence; limits on freedom of speech, assembly, association, movement and religion, including censorship of the press, and restrictions on internet freedom; corruption; domestic violence; child abuse; and limits on workers’ rights to form and join independent unions.
The government sometimes took corrective action, including prosecutions, against officials who violated the law, and police officers sometimes acted with impunity.