The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.

Challenges: INL programs in Vietnam play a critical role in the President’s Rebalance to Asia and bilateral cooperation has expanded exponentially. The Government of Vietnam does not have the capacity to inspect and interdict the illicit movement of goods and people due to insufficient infrastructure and equipment in the country’s ports. It also lacks effective inter-agency communication and training regarding proper port control techniques and processes.

Goals: INL received bilateral funding for Vietnam for the first time in FY 2012. INL’s program aims to improve the development of criminal justice sector entities, help Vietnam meet internationally recognized human rights standards, and enhance maritime law enforcement capacity.

Accomplishments: In May 2016, the U.S. and Vietnam signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) intended to expand Vietnamese law enforcement capabilities and strengthen the criminal justice sector’s capability to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate crimes. INL supports criminal justice sector engagement through the auspices of both the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). INL support to UNODC is aiding Vietnamese front-line border security officers. UNODC’s Border Liaison Office (BLO) program model promotes both interagency and cross border collaboration by co-locating law enforcement units working on border issues. With UNODC’s assistance, 15 BLOs have been established in Vietnam. INL support to UNDP is developing criminal law advocacy skills in the northern part of Vietnam, which will enhance awareness of, and skills related to, adversarial court procedures among local public and private judicial sector professionals and bar associations.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future