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VIet Nam

    February 20, 2014

    Representatives from Amnesty International’s Secretariat this week made their first visit to Viet Nam in decades.

    A four-person delegation spent three days in Viet Nam’s capital Hanoi, building on an individual visit for the organization last year by Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director.

    They met with a range of stakeholders, including senior government and Communist Party officials, National Assembly members, experts from research institutes, representatives of non-governmental organizations and foreign diplomats.

    “We are pleased that the Vietnamese authorities have allowed representatives from the International Secretariat of Amnesty International to enter the country for the first time in decades. We had frank and open discussions on a number of human rights concerns,” said Isabelle Arradon, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Program, who led the delegation.

    “This is a positive step, and we look forward to further constructive engagement with the Viet Nam government.”

    November 08, 2013

    Vietnamese national media today reported that the government is asking the National Assembly to allow the use of execution by firing squad until 2015.

    An EU export ban on the chemicals needed for lethal injections has meant that Viet Nam has struggled to find drugs to carry out executions.

    Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director, said:

    "It is extremely disappointing that Viet Nam is yet again trying to find a way to kill, either by using domestically produced drugs or by reverting to an execution method the government itself has rejected as inhumane.

    “The current shortage of lethal drugs should be an opportunity for the Vietnamese authorities to show to the world their commitment to humane treatment of prisoners and their rejection of the death penalty.

    “The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. It is the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a clear violation of a fundamental human right, the right to life.

    November 07, 2013

    The Vietnamese authorities must end their alarming crackdown on dissent and immediately put in place measures to protect activists from further harassment and imprisonment simply for exercising their rights, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Silenced Voices: Prisoners of Conscience in Viet Nam examines how laws and decrees are used to criminalize freedom of expression, both online and in the streets. It also lists 75 prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam, some of whom have been locked up in harsh conditions for years.

    “Viet Nam is fast turning into one of South East Asia’s largest prisons for human rights defenders and other activists. The government’s alarming clampdown on free speech has to end,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Viet Nam Researcher.

    “This year, Viet Nam is both debating a revised constitution and vying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The government is telling the world about its respect for the rule of law, but the repression of dissent violates Viet Nam’s international commitments to respect freedom of expression.”

    October 02, 2013

    Viet Nam must immediately release a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who was jailed on politically motivated charges today, Amnesty International said.

    A court in Viet Nam’s capital Ha Noi today sentenced Le Quoc Quan, one of the country’s best known dissidents, to 30 months in prison on trumped up tax evasion charges.

    “This is a ludicrous sentence, and just another clear example of the Vietnamese authorities harassing and imprisoning those who are peaceful critics with opposing views,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “It is very difficult to not conclude that Le Quoc Quan has simply been targeted for his human rights activism – as he has been many times before. He should be released immediately and all charges against him dropped.”

    Le Quoc Quan has been a prominent campaigner for democracy and human rights issues in Viet Nam for years. He wrote a popular blog exposing corruption and human rights abuses not covered by the state-controlled media.

    August 06, 2013

    The first execution in Viet Nam in more than 18 months is outrageous and puts hundreds of death row prisoners at risk, Amnesty International said.

    Nguyen Anh Tuan, convicted for murder in 2010, was reportedly executed today in the Ha Noi Police prison through lethal injection – the first execution in the country since around January 2012.

    Tighter EU regulations on the export of the drugs needed for lethal injections meant that Viet Nam did not carry out any executions during this period, but a new law that came into effect on 27 June 2013 states that Viet Nam can now use drugs produced outside the EU or domestically.

    According to media reports, there are currently 586 people on death row in Viet Nam, of which at least 116 have exhausted their final legal appeals.

    “It is deplorable that Viet Nam has resumed executions and reflects a ruthless determination by the authorities to continue using the death penalty,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    March 06, 2013

    A representative from Amnesty International has visited Viet Nam to open up channels for dialogue with the government on the human rights situation in the country.

    The visit was the first by the organization since the late 1970s.

    “We were pleased to accept the invitation from Viet Nam’s authorities to visit the country to discuss Amnesty International’s work and approaches, which includes engaging with governments all over the world,” said Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director, who spent six days in the South East Asian country.

    "We also used the opportunity to raise our concerns about the human rights situation in Viet Nam, including the severe restrictions on the right to freedom of expression.”

    Over the past two years the Vietnamese authorities have locked up dozens of human rights defenders, including bloggers, songwriters, lawyers, labour activists, members of religious groups, democracy activists and others, even as they bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in 2014-2016.

    January 09, 2013

    The conviction and heavy sentencing of 13 peaceful Catholic activists in Viet Nam today flies in the face of justice and is part of an escalating government crackdown on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    A court in Nghe An province today sentenced the 13 activists to between three and 13 years’ imprisonment on charges of undertaking “activities aimed at overthrowing” the government. One other activist was given a suspended sentence.  

    “We urge the Vietnamese authorities to release the activists immediately and unconditionally,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Viet Nam.

    “To misconstrue the activities of the activists as trying to overthrow the government is baseless – they have been imprisoned only for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

    The 14 activists who stood trial – 12 men and two women – were first arrested in mid-2011 on suspicion of ties to the US-based political party Viet Tan, a group calling for peaceful political reform in Viet Nam, which the Vietnamese government has labelled as terrorist.

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