Photo Credit: Frontline Defenders
Download PDF of most recent update to UA 24/17 Viet Nam
Photo Credit: Frontline Defenders
Download PDF of most recent update to UA 24/17 Viet Nam
Illustration by Danilo Ursini, 2017.
The Vietnamese authorities are continuing to crackdown on activists who have raised concerns about the 2016 Formosa environmental disaster and its aftermath. On 12 May 2017, an arrest warrant was issued for activist Bạch Hồng Quyền, who is now in hiding, while human rights defender and blogger Hoàng Đức Bình has been detained since 15 May 2017. Other activists are also facing harassment and intimidation, and are at risk of arrest.
President Francois Hollande of France must confront Vietnamese authorities over their treatment of one women’s fight for justice when he visits the country this week, Amnesty International said today.
Amnesty International calls on the French president to raise in particular the case of Ngô Thanh Kiều, a young man who died in police custody in Phú Yên province in 2012. Since his death, his sister Ngô Thị Tuyết and her family have undertaken a brave crusade for justice in the face of physical attacks, death threats and other forms of intimidation.
Recently, the family found the carcass of a shaved cat flung at their home. It bore a chilling note warning Ngô Thị Tuyết and her family to stop raising her brother’s case or suffer a similar fate.
“Human rights must not be sacrificed to trade and security deals. President Hollande must use his visit to call on the Vietnamese authorities to meet their human rights obligations under international law,” said Camille Blanc, Chair of Amnesty International France.
A new report published by Amnesty International today casts a rare light on the torture and other harrowing treatment of prisoners of conscience locked up in Viet Nam’s secretive network of prisons and detention centres.
Prisons within Prisons: Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam details the ordeals endured by prisoners of conscience in one of the most closed countries in Asia, including prolonged periods of incommunicado detention and solitary confinement, enforced disappearances, the denial of medical treatment, and punitive prison transfers.
“Viet Nam is a prolific jailer of prisoners of conscience; this report offers a rare glimpse at the horror that those prisoners face in detention,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
“Viet Nam ratified the UN Convention against Torture in 2015. This in itself is not enough. In order to meet its human rights obligations, the authorities must introduce reforms in line with international law and ensure accountability for torture and ill treatment.”
Vietnamese authorities must end their crackdown on peaceful protesters and release all prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said today.
As Viet Nam hosts US President Barack Obama on a three-day visit, the authorities have pressed ahead with their assault on the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly by arresting six peaceful activists and orchestrating a campaign of intimidation and harassment against dozens more.
“Even as it faces the glare of global attention with the US President’s visit, the Vietnamese authorities, shamefully, are carrying out their repressive business as usual,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
The six peaceful activists who have been arrested in recent days are: Nancy Nguyễn, Nguyễn Viết Dũng, Phạm Đoan Trang, Vũ Huy Hoàng, Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, and Nguyễn Bá Vinh.
The trial and continuing detention of a blogger and his assistant who have already spent almost two years in jail is farcical and a blight on the country’s human rights record, said Amnesty International ahead of the opening hearing in Ha Noi tomorrow.
The organization is calling for the immediate release of Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, founder of the popular blogsite Anh Ba Sàm, and his assistant Nguyễn Thị Minh Thúy who were arrested for “abusing democratic freedoms” in May 2014 in connection with political blogs which were critical of government policies. The pair face a sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment if convicted.
“This is a textbook example of the authorities’ stamping out legitimate criticism and perpetuating a climate of fear in which people are forced to think twice before expressing themselves and asking questions of government,” said Champa Patel, Director of South East Asia Regional Office.
Authorities in Viet Nam must immediately and unconditionally release human rights lawyer Nguyễn Vãn Ðài, who has been detained on charges of “spreading propaganda against the state” shortly after the EU-Viet Nam Human Rights dialogue was held in the capital Ha Noi, Amnesty International said today.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Public Security, Nguyễn Vãn Ðài was taken into police custody on Wednesday and charged under Article 88 of the Penal Code, which has frequently been used to imprison peaceful activists and human rights defenders. A search warrant was issued for his house in Ha Noi. The arrest comes a month before the once every five years National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam which is often preceded by a crackdown on dissent.
The Vietnamese authorities must put an end to a wave of vicious and violent attacks on human rights defenders and end the persistent impunity by ensuring those responsible are brought to justice, Amnesty International said.
In the latest attack on Sunday 6 December, four activists – including prominent human rights lawyer and former prisoner of conscience Nguyễn Vãn Ðài – were abducted and beaten by a group of 20 men in plainclothes. They were returning from a public forum on constitutional rights in Nghệ An province, which the authorities had tried to shut down.
“Brutal attacks on human rights defenders have become routine in Viet Nam yet no steps have been taken to bring those responsible to justice. This wave of violence must end immediately,” said John Coughlan, Amnesty International’s Viet Nam Researcher.
“Peaceful activists in Viet Nam are working under harsh conditions and suffer impermissible restrictions on their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. It is outrageous that they have to risk both their health and liberty simply for speaking up for human rights.”
Nguyen Van Hai, better known by his pen name Dieu Cay (“peasant’s pipe”), was released from prison, having served four years of a 12-year prison sentence.
His reportedly deteriorating health and the harsh prison conditions in Vietnam makes his release even more welcome.
Immediately after his release he was taken to the airport and put on a plane, bound for the USA. Nguyen Van Hai’s sudden release shows how the passion and persistence of Amnesty International members can help in the struggle for human rights in Vietnam.
He was jailed for writing an online blog that called for an end to injustice and corruption in Vietnam. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience and campaigned tirelessly for four years demanding his release.
Thank you to Amnesty supporters who took action on his case and helped us win his freedom!
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Read more Amnesty International Good News Stories
The release from prison of one of Viet Nam’s most high profile prisoners of conscience is a positive step, but authorities must now free the scores of other peaceful activists behind bars, said Amnesty International today.
Nguyen Van Hai, better known by his pen name Dieu Cay (“peasant’s pipe”), was released from prison yesterday, having served four years of a 12-year prison sentence. Immediately after his release he was taken to the airport and put on a plane, eventually bound for the USA.
A popular blogger on social justice issues, Dieu Cay was charged under the vaguely worded Article 88 of Viet Nam’s Penal Code for “conducting propaganda” against the state. He was sentenced to prison in September 2012 after an unfair trial.
The Vietnamese authorities must stop attacks on peaceful activists, Amnesty International said today after three human rights defenders were sentenced to jail and police beat and arrested their supporters.
Women activists Bui Thi Minh Hang and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, along with their male co-defendant Nguyen Van Minh, were handed between two and three-year jail terms on charges of "disturbing public order" at Dong Thap Provincial People's Court in Viet Nam.
Dozens of their supporters, including family members, bloggers and other civil society activists, were harassed, beaten and arrested to prevent them from attending the court hearing.
“Today’s verdict appears to be another attempt to punish peaceful activism in Viet Nam”, said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.
The three activists were attacked and arrested by police along with 18 others in February 2014 while trying to visit former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Bac Truyen at his fiance’s home.
The early release of Do Thi Minh Hanh, a woman labour activist and prisoner of conscience, in Viet Nam is a positive step but authorities must now follow up and release the scores of other peaceful activists still behind bars, Amnesty International said.
Hanh, 28, was released on 26 June by Vietnamese authorities and arrived home yesterday. She had been imprisoned for seven years in 2010 for “conducting propaganda against the state”, after handing out leaflets in support of workers demanding better pay and conditions.
“We are of course delighted that Do Thi Minh Hanh has been released, but she should never have been locked up in the first place. Sentencing someone to seven years in prison for handing out leaflets is ludicrous, and a sad indictment of the Vietnamese authorities’ long-lasting crackdown on dissent,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
“The Vietnamese authorities must now follow up and immediately and unconditionally release all others who have been jailed for peacefully exercising their human rights.”
The early release in Viet Nam of several prisoners of conscience is welcome, but serves to highlight the situation of at least 70 others who remain jailed for peacefully expressing their opinions, Amnesty International said today.
Nguyen Tien Trung, Vi Duc Hoi and Cu Huy Ha Vu have all been released over the past week.
“We are delighted that these men are out of prison but they should never have been locked-up in the first place,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.
“The releases are a step in the right direction for freedom of expression and we hope that they reflect a shift in Viet Nam’s commitment to respecting human rights.”
Amnesty International has documented the cases of 75 individuals who have been imprisoned after being tried and convicted for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, and raised some of these cases in a recent visit to Viet Nam.
Amnesty International has paid tribute to Dinh Dang Dinh, the Vietnamese environmental activist, blogger and former prisoner of conscience, who has died aged 50.
The activist was unjustly jailed in 2011 after starting a petition against a mining project and was diagnosed with cancer while in prison.
The authorities only allowed Dinh Dang Dinh to be treated in hospital from January 2014, where he was kept under constant surveillance. He was released temporarily on medical grounds in February, before being released permanently in March.
Dinh Dang Dinh died of stomach cancer at his home in Dak Nong province in Viet Nam’s Central Highlands yesterday evening.
“We join human rights defenders in Viet Nam and across the world in mourning the loss of Dinh Dang Dinh and express our deepest condolences to his family,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.
“It is a tragedy that the Vietnamese authorities stole the last years of Dinh Dang Dinh’s life, locking him up away from his loved ones.”