May 12, 2014
May 5 – May 11, 2014 Defenders’ Weekly: Vietnamese across the nation protest China’s violations to the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea
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Thirteen civil societies and the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC) issued a joint statement protesting the government’s suppression of civil society and demanding the government to respect the rights of assembly enshrined in the country’s Constitution.
The FVPOC once requested Vietnam’s government and the country’s security forces to respect the people’ rights of assembly and other international obligations for human rights that Vietnam has signed.
It urged the Vietnamese National Assembly to issue Law on Assembly, one important law which had been delayed for over 20 years. If the law is issued, the FVPOC will register and work according to the law and reject the demand for suspension.
It was the first time in Vietnam the newly-established independent civil societies signed in a joint communiqué to protest the suppression and violations of the government regarding the people’s rights of assembly.
The arrest of blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, founder of AnhBaSam website
On May 5, Vietnam’s police arrested blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, founder of independent website AnhBaSam at his private house. The security also searched his house.
Mr. Vinh was accused to violate Article 258 of the Penal Code.
His co-worker Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy was also arrested on the same day on the same charge.
Mr. Vinh was the founder of the famous independent AnhBaSam website with numerous articles which attracted thousands of netcizens. According to Vietnam’s bloggers, he also involves in other famous websites, including Dien Dan Xa Hoi Dan Su (Civil Society Forum) and the Vietnam History Record) although he never confirmed. The two websites were broken down after his arrest.
A number of civil societies in Vietnam and abroad, including the FVPOC, the Human Right Watch (HRW), the Reporteurs Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Border, the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ), and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) condemned the arrest and demanded Hanoi to release the two bloggers.
Press conference at the U.S. Congress on dialogue of human rights in Vietnam
The press conference, held one week prior to the U.S.-Vietnam human rights dialogue which is slated on May 12-13 in Washington, focused on pressure on Vietnam to release prisoners of conscience and the imprisonment of many political dissidents.
Along with U.S. lawmakers who interest in Vietnam’s human rights, speakers of the event included former House Representative Cao Quang Anh, President Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang of the Boat People SOS (BPSOS), and Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, who was recently freed by the Vietnamese government on health reason.
The U.S.-Vietnam human rights dialogue is held this year when Vietnam has been criticized internationally due to its worsening human rights record, with increasing abuse of the local police forces. The number of Vietnamese political prisoners is highest in the Southeast Asia.
One Hmong sentenced with 24-month imprisonment under charge of Article 258
On May 6, Vu A Su, 25, from the ethnic minority Hmong in Bao Lam in the northern province of Cao Bang, was sentenced with 24-month imprisonment under charge of Article 258 by the local People’s Court. The trial was held without a lawyer, and Mr. Su denied all accusation.
Recently, at least eight Hmong have been arrested and charged under Article 258 of the Penal Code: Mr. Duong Van Tu, Mr. Ly Van Dinh and Hoang Van Sang were imprisoned for 21 months, 17 months and 18 months, respectively.
In recent years, Hmong ethnic minority has been suppressed and asked to demolish “funeral house” where people hold ritual ceremonies for died people. The “funeral house”, initiated by Duong Van Minh, is considered modern living stile to replace old traditions which are not hygienic.
61 international activists send letter to Vietnam’s government
Responding to the serious and long-term suppression of Vietnam’s government over the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam since the beginning of this year, the Communication unit of the International Buddhist Organization, with the help of the Committee for Protection of Vietnam Human Rights launched a campaign to inform the United Nation, foreign government and international intellectuals and the global community about the Vietnamese government suppression.
As many as 61 international intellectuals, including Nobel Peace Prize holders, senators and lawmakers of many countries, as well as representatives of international human rights organizations have signed a joint statement demanding the Vietnamese government to release Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
They also demanded the government in Hanoi to ensure normal activities of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam on an occasion of Vesak 2014 held in Vietnam’s northern province of Ninh Binh
Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai was attacked by mobs
Human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who was also political prisoner, was attacked by unknown mobs in Hanoi on May 5. He was thrown with a glass at his head when he and several friends stayed at a cafeteria near his house. Dai was brought to hospital for medical assistance.
The reason for the attack was unknown, Lawyer Dai said, adding it may be caused by his comment on facebook on the U.S.-Vietnam human rights dialogue held in Washington.
Mr. Dai is a member of the Democracy Brotherhood which is among 20 civil societies calling for anti-China protest in Hanoi on May 11.
The FVPOC strongly protests the illegal act of Hanoi’s police who spend people’s tax but serve for foreign interests or cooperate with foreign sides to prevent the country’s development and lead to the Chinese invasion.
The Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR) name reasons for supporting peaceful protests
As a civil society protecting human rights, the VNWHR wants to express its support for anti-China peaceful protests which have been called on by many local civil societies and political dissidents.
On May 9, the VNWHR named the reasons to support peaceful protests based on the resolution of the UN’s Human Rights Council on “Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in cases of peaceful protests. The VNWHR pledged to keep close eye the development of coming peaceful protests and will voice against any suppression from the government, especially suppression against female protestors.
The VNWHR sees all peaceful protests are human rights and under the international convention for human rights. Representing Vietnamese females who protect human rights in Vietnam, the VNWHR supports all peaceful protests regardless to their purposes.
The People’s Common Manifesto: We resolutely Condemn China’s Aggression and Vietnam’s Spineless Acts
A week after China’s giant rig bearing number 981 was dragged onto our territorial waters, did Vietnam authorities begin to react. However, that was just a very cautious and timid response, totally disproportionate to the deliberate invasion and provocation from Beijing.
Not agreeing with weak responses of the Vietnamese government against the Chinese agressiveness, 13 civil societies in Vietnam jointly signed the People’s Common Manifesto to condemn the Chinese move as well as the spineless acts of the Vietnamese government. The manifesto calls Hanoi to respect the people’s rights of peaceful demonstration approved by the Human Rights Council in April this year, and not to supress patriotic rotestors. It also calls on the communist government to conduct political reforms to enhance the country’s democracy.
The 20th Anniversary of Vietnam Human Rights Day
The 20th Anniversary of Vietnam Human Righs Day was held in the building of the U.S. Congress on May 9, with participation of many American politicians and government officials, international human rights activists and Vietnamese Americans who have interest in Vietnam’s human rights.
The message of the meeting this year is to condemn human rights violations in Vietnam and call on foreign countries, international organizations to supress Vietnam’s government, demanding Hanoi to release political prisoners and respect basic human rights, including the right to be informed and freedom of expression.
Thousands Vietnamese rallied in Hanoi and Saigon to protest China’s violations in Vietnam’s waters
In the morning of Sunday [May 11], thousands of Vietnamese gathered in streets in Hanoi and Saigon to protest China’s deployment of a $1 billion HD-981 oil rig in Vietnam’s waters, on a place well within the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone.
In Hanoi, thousands of war veterans, students and ordinary people led by intellectuals met in front of China’s Embassy with bandrons protesting Beijing’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea. Security forces used barriers to prevent demonstrators to approach the embassy’s building. However, they did nothing to disperse the peaceful protestors.
In Saigon, the anti-China demonstration attracted thousands people, including a large group of the communist-party supporters who tried to turn the protest into the meeting to support the government.
Aside independent websites, nearly all state-run newspapers and television channels and radios reported the demonstration with focus on people’s support for the communist party and its government.
Summary by Chau Van Thi.
Translation by [rollinglinks]Vu Quoc Ngu[/rollinglinks]