As a multi-ethnic country, Vietnam has 54 recognised ethnic groups, 53 of which are Ethnic Minority (EM) groups. These groups comprise an estimated 14 million people or around 14.6% of the country’s total population of some 98 million. Each EM group has its own distinct culture and traditions. The term “ethnic minorities” is often used interchangeably with “indigenous peoples” in Vietnam. All EM have Vietnamese citizenship, and Vietnam’s Constitution recognises that all people have equal rights. Among EM communities, there is a higher proportion of peoples living in poverty. While the national poverty rate is 5.35%, it is still 50-60% within the EM population. The process of poverty reduction is unstable, and there is a high poverty relapse rate. Approximately 54,000 households lack access to land for cultivation, 58,000 households lack residential land, and 223,000 households lack access to drinking water.

Vietnam has not ratified ILO Convention No.169,3 and although Vietnam voted in favour of the UNDRIP it does not recognise ethnic minorities as indigenous peoples.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, The Indigenous World 2019

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