April 28 – May 4, 2014 Defenders’ Weekly:  RSF honored three Vietnamese journalists , bloggers as “information heroes”.

Defenders-weekly 1

On the day of World Press Freedom Day(May 3), RSF honored three Vietnamese journalists, bloggers: Priest Le Ngoc Thanh, Dr. Pham Chi Dung and blogger Truong Duy Nhat. Vietnam Human Rights Network published its annual report on human rights in Vietnam. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights urged the authorities to release three prisoners of conscience – Do Thi Minh Hanh, Ho Thi Bich Khuong and Ta Phong Tan. In addition, the group also requested the health minister for her resignation because of her failure to prevent measles epidemic causing heavy casualties. The website of Vietnamese Human Rights defenders (http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/ ) suffered two attacksfrom hackers. And many other notable news:

**********04/28/2014**********

Disabled Vietnamese veterans (the Army of the Republic of Vietnam) met together at Saigon Redemptorist Cathedral

At 8 pm, on April 28, 2014, Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and  Redemptorist Monastery in Saigon helda meeting “Paying tribute to Disabled Veterans of the Army of  the Republic of Vietnam ” and offered gifts to about 440 disabled veterans.

Besidesmore than 400 disabled veterans, Provincial Superior of Vietnam Redemptorist Monastery – Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish -father Joseph Ho Dac Tam, many dignitaries ofVietnamese Inter-religion Council, prisoner of the century -Nguyen Huu Cau and other dissidents attended the celebration day.

The meeting wasvery simple and full of love and compassion. Many disabled veterans were so moved to meet and realize that they have not been forgotten after near 40 years.

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights urged the authorities to release Do Thi Minh Hanh, Ta Phong Tan and Ho Thi Bich Khuong.

On April 28, 2014, VNWHR  publicized a statement  calling the authorities for the release of Do Thi Minh Hanh, Ta Phong Tan and Ho Thi Bich Khuong.

The group vehemently opposed the assumed Human rights promotion  of the Vietnam government: on one hand, they released some prisoners of conscience; on the other hand, they continued to harass and arrest other human rights activists. On behalf of  conscience and justice, the group affirmed that they would continuetheir domestic and international campaign to pressure on the Vietnamese authorities to release more prisoners of conscience, especially female prisoners.

**********04/29/2014 **********

Reporters Without Borders published a list of “100 INFORMATION HEROES”

For the first time, RWB published a list of “100 Information Heroes” for  World Press Freedom Day (May 3).

With the listrecently issued, RWB said that,by their courage and activeness,  the heroes have promoted Freedom of information and speech encoded in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Vietnam has three persons honored as information heroes: Priest Le Ngoc Thanh, Dr. Chi Dung and blogger Pham Duy Nhat Truong.

RWB PUBLISHES PROFILES OF “100 INFORMATION HEROES”

REDEMPTORIST PRIEST IN THE LIST OF “100 INFORMATION HEROES”

Vietnam Human Rights Network published a report on the human rightsin Vietnam

On April 29, Vietnam Human Rights Network issued its 2013 annual report on the human rights situation in Vietnam.

According to the report,  in 2013, there are some notable  Human rights events like Vietnam was a member of  the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 12, 11. On November 7, Vietnam also signed the UN Convention Against Torture. Another event observed is that the government integrated the concept of Human rights into the Constitution amended in 2013.

In fact, the government has intruded on the right to life, liberty and security of the Vietnamese citizens. The State used courts as a tool forabusing people’s  political and civil rights, trampled upon freedom of speech and expression, restrained religious activities andsuppressed religious believers, maintained social inequality and discrimination, deprived of the basic rights of workers, and not kept the commitments to social welfare and justice.

VNHRN – Report on Human Rights in Viet Nam

Hearing on press freedom in Vietnam at the U.S. House of Representatives

For World Press Freedom Day (May 3), a hearing on the situation of press freedom in Vietnam took place Tuesday morning, on April 29,2014 at U.S. House of Representatives.

Despite being a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam still does not respect freedom of speech, information and the other fundamental rights. Vietnam does not have  free and independent media. Journalism was run and controlled by the state. The authorities use the policy of threatening, arresting and persecuting bloggers and independent journalists that want to express social and political opinionsdifferent fromthe government’s.

Joind the hearing six bloggers, freelance journalist from Vietnam. Those people, less or more, experienced oppression and threats due to speaking out opinions opposite to the state. Also, their family cannot avoid the persecution of the authorities.

U.S. to Raise Bloggers’ Crackdown Issue With Vietnam

Southern Petitioners protested on April 30

In the morning of April 28 2014, petitioners from southern provinces held a demonstration in front of Saigon Opera House. They said the petitioners’ rally to celebrate the thirty-ninth anniversary when communists used forces to turn over the Republic of Vietnam, oppressed Southern people, robbing houses and  evicted farmers from their land causing mass complaints of nationwide farmers.

Plain-clothed and uniformed police were deployed around the area of protest. They beat protesters so brutally that many were hospitalized.

Dân oan miền Nam biểu tình phản đối nhân ngày 30/4

Land grab victims protest in Saigon in memorial of April 30

**********04/30/2014**********

Duong Noi petitioners gathered to call to free detainees and protested against land confiscation

During April 28 and 29, 2014, Duong Noi petitioners held consecutive protests in Hanoi to claim their land and request the authorities for the release of petitioners previously arrested.

In addition, a near two-minute long video clip,showing  thatpolice forces at Duong Noi beat protesters savagely on April 25,is widely shared on the internet causing mass indignation.

It is known that it is the final video recorded from a watch-tower by Ms. Can Thi Theu before her arrest. She witnessed her husband along with other farmers brutally assaulted. So policemen climbed up to the tower and held her with some anesthetics. After that, they used abucket truck to take her onto the ground and detained her so far.

Video CA cướp đất, đánh người kinh hoàng tại Dương Nội

U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom proposed to put Vietnam into the CPC blacklist again.

USCIRF has recently issued a 2014 annual report on international religious freedom.

As such, the commissionurged the U.S Department  of State to put eight more countries into the list of “countries of particular concern” (CPC) including Vietnam.

USCIRF said that like Human rights record in past years, Vietnam’s  in 2013 continued to deteriorate. In the context of the Communist party’s internal tension, the Vietnam government has drastically suppressed any activity challenging the authoritarian rule, and increase to restrain freedom of religion, expression, association and assembly.

The report also exposesthe panorama of religious repression and persecution to religious prisoners, (the Most Reverend Thich Quang Do of  Vietnamese Unified Buddhist Congregation serves an example) and harassment of other religious followers including Cao Daiists, Catholics, Hoa Hao Buddhists and Khmer Buddhists.

USCIRF Issues its 2014 Annual Report – 15th Anniversary Retrospective: Renewing the Commitment

************05/01/2014 **********

A seminar on information freedom in the perspectiveof Catholic social teaching at the Redemptorist Monastery

In the afternoon of May 1, 2014, a seminar on information freedom in the perspective of Catholic social teaching was hold by the Redemptorist cathedral  with the participation of a large number of people interested.

The conference began with the introduction by priest Le Ngoc Thanh and then lawyer Le Cong Dinh’s assigment with the subject: “Is there press freedom in Vietnam”?The assigment was presented by other because of his probationstatus

Lecturer Pham Minh Hoang also planned to address his speech but he could not attend the meeting for not be allowed by police so he could convey his message to the conference by a video clip.

A third lecturer of the seminar is Dr. Pham Chi Dung, with the subject “Situation and recommendations on free media in Vietnam”.

Article 19 and Reporters Without Borders also joined through video and skype live.

The conference was avery meaningful and necessary event for a free media in Vietnam. Two of  the lecturers recognized “information heroes” in the 100-person list arepriests Le Ngoc Thanh and Dr. Pham Chi Dung.

Bốn đề tài thuyết trình trong buổi hội thảo “Tự do thông tin ở Việt Nam dưới ánh sáng Giáo huấn xã hội Công giáo”

Calling for health minister’s resignation

Measles epidemic has been spreading across the country but so far it has not officially announced as an epidemic by Vietnam Ministry of Health. Many children have died and the rest is in danger to life; and even adults are infected. The situation increased public bewilderment and indignation.

Under the circumstance, on May 1, 2014, Vietnamese Women for Human rights called health minister to resign and confirmed that they do not believe the resignation of a minister in dictatorial regime can change the bad situationof health care system in Vietnam.

But on principle on separation of powers and duty assignment, the failure of Vietnam’s health departmentshould be referred to responsibility of the  incumbent health minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

Calling for health minister’s resignation

**********05/02/2014**********

The website Defend the Defenders have overcome two rounds of hacking

The website known as Defend the Defenders was found hacked early in the afternoon of May 2, 2014. The link http://www.vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net/ admin could not be logged inbut just leading to an article posted. Shortly after that, datum storage were in turn deleted, including Tell The World, Defenders’ Weekly Report, Document and other plugins.

DTD regained its web control and recovered the data at about 10 pm, but after that it suffered  a new attack again.

Currently, it has not completely recovered as the original. But it isstill be able to continue to cover lastest news on human rights.

Defend the Defenders overcomes two attacks by hackers

The Hmong people in Bangkok, Thailand asked for help

Two Hmong persons suffering religious persecution in Vietnam fled to Thailand for asylum.  But while having not gotten refugee statusfrom UN High Commissioner for Refugees, they were captured by Thai police for illegal residence. From detention center IDC, they sent a letter asking for help to Vietnamese media agencies.

A cry for help from the Hmong in Bangkok, Thailand

***********05/03/2014 **********

Letter of Thanks  from Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu

On May 3, 2014, from Washington DC, Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu sent a letter of appreciation to the individuals, organizations and governments having spoken  out for his release. He also asserted that he “has fought andalways fight for democracy and pluralism for the interest of Vietnamese people and Fatherland”.

Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu will “address a speech” on human rights at a press conference in Washington scheduled to take place on May 6. The press conference holds nearly a week before the eighteenth US- Vietnam Human rights dialogue planned to happen on May 12 and 13 in Washington.

Prisoner of conscience Dieu Cay was nominated for 2014 Vaclav Havel Award

Prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay)was nominated for the 2014 Vaclav Havel Award by  the group Van Lang in Czechoslovakia.

He is currently serving a 12 year sentence in prison for allegedly conducting propaganda against the state. His family said that he has been threatened and even infected some diseases without medical treatment.

Vaclav Havel Award for Human rights is an international award established in 2013 byParliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe honoring outstanding activities of civil society in the protection of human rights in Europe and other continents.

Tù nhân lương tâm Điếu Cày được đề cử giải Vaclav Havel năm 2014

Summary by Chau Van Thi,

Translation by [rollinglinks]Huynh Thuc Vy[/rollinglinks]