June 2 – June 8, 2014 Defenders’ Weekly: Civil Societies meet to discuss on the rights of freedom of assembly
Defend the Defenders | June 10, 2014
[themify_box style=”blue info rounded” ]On June 5, representatives of 16 civil societies met on Lien Tri Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2 to discuss on the rights of freedom of assembly. The Vietnamese Canadian Association was invited to attend a hearing for human rights violations in Vietnam. Writer Đặng Phú Phong, an American Vietnamese, was stopped in Tan Son Nhat International Airport and banned from leaving the country due to “national security reason.” One state-run newspaper was prosecuted under Article 258 of the Criminal Code. And more important news.[/themify_box]
Canadian Parliament held hearing on human rights violations in Vietnam
On May 29, the Vietnamese Canadian Federation was invited by the International Human Rights Subcommittee of the Parliament of Canada’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to attend a hearing for human rights violations in Vietnam.
During the hearing, three Vietnam-based political dissidents presented the human rights violations in Vietnam, as well as political and social situations in the communist nation. The presentations were filmed in advance. After that, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thanh presented Vietnam’s labor export, human trafficking, forced labor in prisons as well as efforts to promote human rights in Vietnam via negotiations for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
On the occasion, the Vietnamese Canadian Federation submitted to the Parliament of Canada a proposal with following contents:
- Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Unconditionally release all political prisoners in Vietnam,
Drop all articles 79, 88, 258 which are used to suppress peaceful dissent in Vietnam,
Respect citizens’ rights of assembly, and workers’ rights to establish independent unions.
- Evaluating Canada’s assistance programs for Vietnam: the Canadian government to regularly evaluate its assistance programs for Vietnam, and allow civil societies in Vietnam to participate in the process.
- Regarding prisoners of conscience
Members of the Parliament of Canada should support specific Vietnamese prisoners of conscience by regularly contact them and use diplomatic means to ask for their freedom.
********** 03/06/2014 **********
Lecturer of Nghe An province-based Art College was trapped and beaten by local police
On June 3, Nguyễn Năng Tĩnh, lecturer of the Nghe An province-based Art College currently working at the Department of Scientific Research and Technology, was asked to make a report on May 18 as the local police accused him of conducting social disorder.
In his report, Mr. Tinh said on that day he visited some friends who were just released from police’s station after being detained for conducting anti-China protest. At that moment, about 50 security agents were around the group. Mr. Tinh met his friends shortly and left for his home. On the return road, he was stopped by policemen and then severely beaten by thugs. In order to prevent other people to intervene, policemen said Tinh is a stealer. Later, police detained him to the police station.
In his report, Mr. Tinh condemned the police’s action, saying their action was not for the forces which are assigned to protect citizens.
Regarding the police’s accusation of receiving money from foreign countries and triggering anti-China protests without giving any reliable evidence, Mr. Tinh said he is willing to attend a hearing to reject groundless accusation of the local police. He also requested the local police to investigate the attacks of mobs against him as well as those insulting him with groundless accusation.
********** 05/06/2014 **********
June’s meeting of local civil societies to discuss the rights of freedom of assembly
In the morning of June 5, representatives of 16 civil societies gathered in Lien Tri Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2 to attend the regular monthly meeting and discussion.
A large number of policemen, including security agents and traffic wardens, occupied streets near the pagoda. In order to hinder the meeting, they blocked the roads heading to the pagoda. Security agents made photos and videos of attendants but not brutally confronted them as previous times.
During the meeting, participants discussed and exchanged on the rights of freedom of assembly, thus the rights to set up peaceful associations.
In conclusion, most of the representatives agreed that there is a urgent need to establish independent associations in coming time. They also agreed to issue a joint statement to support the rights of freedom of assembly.
Vietnam right now: Civil society meets on freedom of assembly and of association
FVPOC: “Diên Hồng” chưa từng có của XHDS: Phải thành lập Công đoàn độc lập! (2)
Writer Đặng Phú Phong was banned to flight back to the U.S.
Writer Phong, a U.S. citizen, has been banned by the border security in Tan Son Nhat international airport to leave the country to the U.S., with “national security” reasons.
Senior Lieutenant Phạm Tất Hưng, deputy head of the Tan Son Nhat police station is the person to make the decision on the case of Mr. Phong.
Mr. Phong was imprisoned by the communist government in the 1975-1982 period. Currently he is residing in South California. He often has articles on online websites such as VanchuongViet.org and Damau.org, and associates with Tay Son Binh Dinh Association.
State-owned online Law and Society website was prosecuted under Article 258
The Ha Noi Moi newspaper on June 5 reported that the Security Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Public Security issued to probe the state-owned online Law and Society website for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state, rights and legitimate interests of organizations and citizens”.
Earlier, Law and Society website posted an article accusing one firm of the Ministry of Public Security violated the country’s laws. Specifically, Toan Cau Co. Ltd conducted a number of trading activities which the company has yet to register according to the country’s law.
The article compared the illegal acts of the Ministry of Public Security’s Toan Cau Co. Ltd with those of former banker Nguyen Duc Kien, who was found to conduct numerous activities violating the country’s law.
Due to the article, the newspaper and the author were proposed to be prosecuted under Article 258 of the Criminal Code.
Vietnam right now: Angry Ministry of Police prosecutes newspaper under Article 258
Police in Dong Nai and Quang Tri harassed Lê Thị Phương Anh’s family
On June 6, a group of about 15 fully-equipped policemen from Dong Nai and Quang Tri provinces stormed into the private house of Lê Thị Phương Anh’s grandmother and tried to search the house.
However, they met strong protest from the house owners who said Lê Thị Phương Anh and her husband Lê Anh Hùng are only visitors of the house.
Without handing over the warrant, policemen continued to search the house. They tried to take away the personal computer but met strong protest from the grandmother.
Mr. Hùng suggested that the police planned to arrest him and search the house but at that time he wasn’t there. The police was forced to withdraw after meeting strong opposition from the family as well as local people.
Meanwhile, Lê Thị Phương Anh and her two friends were arrested by Dong Nai police 23 days ago but the family received no official notice from police. Recently state media reported that Dong Nai police arrested three individuals suspected to “trigger anti-China protests in Dong Nai” and the police force found that “Viet Tan is the major actor causing the riots” in mid May. It is possible that Vietnam’s authorities will blame her as a riot organizer with support of Viet Tan.
International Conference on the Convention against Torture
On June 6, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Hanoi-based UN’s Development Programs organized a workshop on the Convention against Torture and other ill-treatment or degrading treatment.
Vietnam signed the Convention against Torture in 2013 and is implementing steps to ratify this convention in 2014. Major General Nguyễn Ngọc Anh, director of the Legal Affairs under the ministry said the communist nation will amend a number of existing laws and build new ones in the 2015-2016 to comply with the convention.
The country will enhance transparency of arrest and questioning with participation of lawyer and representative of prosecution.
“Lawyers will be allowed to get access to their clients who are deprived of liberty, immediately after the arrest to protect the detainees. Some technical solutions, including installing cameras in questioning room will be applied to prevent torture,” Gen Anh said.
Mr. Manfred Nowak, former UN’s special rapporteur on torture, said there is need to have a special mechanism, including independent bodies to investigate torture conducted by police. The role of press should be enhanced in preventing torture, he noted.
In some European countries, when detainees are injured, the police have to prove that they are not using torture. If they fail, they will be accused of conducting torture, he added.
Thanh Niên: Sửa luật để chống bức cung, nhục hình
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