July 7-13 Defender’s Weekly: Vietnam human rights situation is worsening
Defend the Defenders | 14/7/2014
[themify_box style=”green info rounded” ]There are many interesting news during the week, with the most interesting news on hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee of U.S. House of Representatives on human rights in Southeast Asian nations. During the hearing, Representative Ed Royce warned that Vietnam’s government has severely harrased local human rights activists. During the week, there are number of police’ abuse which led to deaths of local residents. Particularly, traffic policemen’ efforts to catch people caused brain damage for running people and policemen beat one suspect detained in police station. The appeal court dismissed light judgments given by a court and demanded for re-investigation on the case on which five policemen beat to death Mr. Ngo Thanh Kieu. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution on the East Sea demanding China to remove its illegal oilrig out of Vietnam’s waters, the move could shame the Vietnamese communist-controlled parliament which has no resolution on the issue.[/themify_box]
Concerns raised about policemen beat people violating traffic rules, causing serious injures for them
At 9am in Nhi Chau ward in Hai Duong city, there was a traffic accident on which Do Hai Nam, born in 1970, suffered serious injures and was hospitalized for emergency. Witnesses said that Nam turned without giving signal, and one policeman tried to catch him for imposing administrative fine. Nam feared, suddently taking brake and falling on street. Medical check detected that his brain was damaged.
The witnesses said Nam’s falling was caused by policeman’s threat.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives hearing on human rights in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian nations
On July 9, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives conducted a hearing on human rights in Vietnam and other countries in the Southeast Asia. Chairman Ed Royce said at the spotlighting that religious freedom, freedom of expression and the rights of assembly are the valuable rights across the world but some states in the Southeast Asia have rejected these rights and severely suppress all dissidents.
Mr. Royce took Vietnam as an example where the government has imprisoned and harassed those who voice against the political monopoly of the communists.
The Ripon Advance: Committee will explore alleged human rights abuses in Southeast Asia
Funeral for former political prisoner dies of AIDS he infested during 14-year imprisonment
The funeral of Huynh Anh Tri, a former political prisoner died from AIDS, was held in Saigon. Mr. Tri, 42, passed away on July 5, just over six months after being released from prison. He was detected to be infested with a deadly HIV virus in early this year, several months after his 14-year sentence ended in late 2013. He said his infection with HIV was caused by sharing razor blades with criminal prisoners many of them are HIV-carriers.
Mr. Tri and his older brother Huynh Anh Tu were arrested in 1999, accused of conducting terrorist activities aiming to throw the communist government.
Danlambao: Huỳnh Anh Trí: Light Through Darkness
Appeal for ten farmers in Huong Son commune who were allegedly accused of conducting activities to protest their land grabbing by local authorities.
On July 7, the People’s Court in My Duc district in Hanoi rejected appeals of ten farmers in Huong Son commune who were blamed to conduct activities against on-duty state officials on a land grabbing case for building Huong Son-Tam Truc-Kha Phong, the two tourism sites in Hanoi and Ha Nam province.
According to the conviction, Dinh Van Chinh and his wife and some people in Huong Son commune on July 12, 2013 brought a empty coffin to prevent workers and machineries to enter to the project site for building a route connecting two tourism sites, because the project will be partly built on land belong to the protested. Chinh called on residents not to allow contractors to build the route since there is no official document for revoking land from the farmers.
Mr. Chinh was sentenced to spend next five years in prison. His wife received one-year imprisonment while eight others will be imprisoned for between six months and nine months.
In the communist Vietnam, land grabbing occurs in a number of localities for building industrial zones, property projects and roads without paying adequate prices for farmers.
Tuổi trẻ: Vẫn “Một câu nói 5 năm tù”
Vietnamese workers still have to pay high fees for broker companies
In its annual report on human trafficking in the world released on June 20, the U.S. Department of State paid a special attention to Vietnamese overseas workers, many of them have been forced to pay high fees for broker companies. Due to high fees asked by Vietnamese and Taiwanese brokers, thousands of Vietnamese laborers in Taiwan, one of the main markets for Vietnamese workers, broke contracts. According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, a Vietnamese worker is forced to pay a fee of $10,000 while the official fee is below $4,000.
RSF applauds the establishment of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières -RSF), a France-based international non-profit, non-governmental organization, has applauded the establishment of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam one week earlier. According to RSF, this is the first time many journalists together voiced publicly to promote freedom of information in Vietnam.
In its statement released on July 7, RSF recognized Chairman Pham Chi Dung and Vice Chairman Catholic Father Le Ngoc Thanh of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam. Both Dung and Thanh were honored by RSF as “information heroes” recently.
Mr. Benjamin Ismail, RSF’s special representative in Asia-Pacific region, said the establishment of Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam is the good news for freedom of information in Vietnam. “The association will be a shield for independent journalists and will create chance for disseminating of news that are not censored by the state. The RSF will support the Vietnamese association,” he said.
Vietnam government and state-run companies cooperate to raise fuel price, the fifth time this year
In order to compensate its losses of VND10 trillion caused by investing in property and stock securities in the 2007-2011, the state-owned Petrolimex decided to increase fuel price for the fifth time this year.
Since 2011, Petrolimex has increased fuel prices many times, especially in the period between the two sessions of the country’s legislative body National Assembly to avoid being criticized. Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang is considered protector of Petrolimex, conducting activities to protect interest group in fuel market.
Meanwhile, few Vietnamese voiced their disagreements with fuel price hike and the majority of the over 90 million citizens have no response. No street protest against was held.
Man beaten to death by police: Disaffirm general court order
The appeal court in Phu Yen province on July 9 dismissed the judgments of the court held in March-April this year and demanded re-investigation of the case on which five policemen beat Ngo Thanh Kieu to death in mid May of 2012.
Earlier, the court sentenced policeman Nguyen Thanh Thanh Thao with 5 years in prison, his colleagues Nguyen Minh Quyen and Pham Ngoc Man with two years and 18 months imprisonment while Do Nhu Huy and Nguyen Tan Quang received suspended sentences.
After Kieu’s family appealed the sentences which are considered too light for power-abused policemen, President Truong Tan Sang ordered the case to be re-investigated.
Vietnam’s human rights situation is worsening: U.S. Houser Representative
U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on July 9 convened a hearing to examine human rights in Southeast Asia. The hearing is entitled “Spotlighting Human Rights in Southeast Asia.”
In his speech, he said “In Vietnam, we have overwhelming evidence that the human rights situation is worsening with the government continuing its severe crackdown on critics of the regime. We know that the Government of Vietnam suppresses virtually all forms of dissent through intimidation, physical violence, and long prison terms. In my own travels to Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the lengths that the secret police will go to in order to stifle any form of free speech or religious freedom. Yet, despite 18 meetings of the U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, there is no improvement in the human rights situation. I call on the Government of Vietnam to immediately cease its human rights abuses and release all political prisoners.”
Mạch sống: Điều Trần Về Nhân Quyền Việt Nam Ở Hạ Viện
House Committee of Foreign Affairs: Foreign Affairs Committee Convenes Hearing on Human Rights in Southeast Asia
U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez objects TPP negotiation with Vietnam
U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, co-chairwoman of the Committee on Homeland Security and member of the Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, joined with other U.S. lawmakers to condemn Vietnam’s violations of human rights and express concern about rights of Vietnamese workers, imbalance of trade as well as rights of women and homosexual individuals.
She is concerned about on-going negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership between Vietnam and the U.S.. During the past 18 years, despite the two countries’ agreement on trade and defense, Vietnam’s government has no significant progress to promote human rights.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez:REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ SPEAKS OUT AGAINST VIETNAM AND TPP NEGOTIATIONS
Hanoi police kidnap U.S. citizen staying in hotel
Ms. Grace Bui, a Vietnamese American, was detained by Vietnamese police xuất and being deported out of Vietnam on July 10. She arrived in Hanoi several days earlier to meet some friends.
Mrs. Bui said at a police station, policemen robbed her cell phone and hacked her facebook account. Security agents questioned her about her facebook friends such as lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, Anh Chi, Anthony Le, Le Anh Hung, JB Vinh and Thuy Nga.
U.S. lawmaker demands freedom for prisoner of conscience Ms. Duong Kim Khai
U.S. House Representative Ted Poe agreed to adopt Ms Duong Kim Khai, a Vietnamese prisoner of conscience as part of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Council. Mr. Poe pledged to make all effort to suppress Vietnam’s government to release the adopted prisoner.
Since the begining of the project, the Boat People SOS urged American lawmakers to adopt many Vietnamese political prisoners. So far, ten Vietnamese prisoners of conscience have been adopted by the U.S. legislators.
The U.S. Senate passes a resolution on the East Sea
on July 10, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution on the East Sea, calling China to restore the status quo before May 1.
The resolution named S.RES.412 S.RES.412 affirms that it is the policy of the United States to call on claimants to clarify or adjust claims in accordance with international law, to support efforts by ASEAN and China to develop an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea, and to encourage claimants not to undertake new unilateral attempts to change the status quo since the signing of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the sea, including not asserting administrative measures or controls in disputed areas in the sea.
Washington also urges Beijing to refrain from implementing the declared East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) as the move would be contrary to “freedom of overflight” in the skies, and to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.
The resolution also named a number of Chinese activities which aim to change status quo in the East Sea, considering these activities unacceptable since they violate the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Binh Duong authorities continue to suppress Mennonite Church
Authorities in the southern province of Binh Duong on July 10 came to suppress and threaten followers of Mennonite Church. These actions were conducted one month after hundreds of local policemen attacked training courses of the church.
Radio Chân Trời Mới: Nhà cầm quyền Bình Dương tiếp tục sách nhiễu Hội Thánh Mennonite
Hoang Sa bridge connects Vietnamese people across the globe
A program named Hoang Sa bridge on July 11 handed over a newly-built house for Mrs. Nguyen Thi Sinh, a widow of naval lieutenant Nguy Van Tha, captain of Nhat Tao warship who fell together with 73 soldiers of the Vietnam Republic in 1974 when China militarily invaded Hoang Sa (Paracels).
Mrs. Sinh is the first who received donation from Hoang Sa bridge program which is funded by Vietnamese overseas.
Vietnam Policeman Arrested for Beating to Death One Detainee
A policeman in Vietnam’s Central Highlands of Daklak has been arrested for allegedly beating to death one person detained for involving in property stealing.
Le Viet Hung, policeman of Xuan Hoa village in Phu Xuan commune in Krong Nang district, was accused of causing serious injuries to Nguyen Huu Thau which led to Mr. Thau’s death.
Earlier on the evening of July 3, Mr. Thau was detained by Mr. Hung and other militia members in the village for questioning his role in a recent property stealing case in the village’s common hall. He was found lying unconscious on a floor with blood and many injuries on his body. Mr. Thau was taken to Ho Chi Minh City’s hospital but died on the way.
There are many cases in which detainees were found dead in the police’s custody in recent years. In some instances, the police said the arrested conducted suicides.
Mr. Thau is the 11th victim of Vietnam’s police abuse since the beginning of 2014. In June, three Vietnamese died from local police torture, according to a local human rights organization.
In November last year, communist Vietnam signed the UN Convention against Torture.
Báo Đất Việt: Chết sau khi làm việc với công an, nghi…lạm quyền?
Saigon: Police block Loc Hung garden
Saigon authorities sent large number of policemen to block Loc Hung garden in Tan Binh district in the morning of July 13 to prevent local residents from clearing the garden.
The garden has a waste point, and is a place where drug addicts to gather. Local residents want to clear the site and turn it into peaceful park, however, it is likely the local government wants the site to remain dirty for criminals.
Dân làm báo: Sài Gòn: CA đang bao vây vườn rau Lộc Hưng
Binh Thuan authorities close Cham Bani Palace during Ramadan period
Binh Thuan province’s authorities have decided to close Bicam palei in Tanh Linh district during Ramadan period this year, causing disappointments among Cham people. The move is take for the first time, affecting religious freedom of ethnic minority Cham.
Blogger Doan Trang joins five U.S. lawmakers to discuss labor rights in TPP
in the morning of July 9, in the U.S. Congress, a group of five leading democratic members of the Congress held a press conference themed “Why TPP cannot success?.” Vietnamese freelance journalist and blogger Pham Doan Trang represented the Voice to discuss with the Congress members
Loretta Sanchez, Rosa DeLauro, George Miller, Louise Slaughter, và Donna Edwards.
“No trade agreement will be signed if laborers’ rights are not assured. These rights should be prioritized before signing of any agreement. Vietnamese people want prosperity, but economic development should go together with liberty rights. Please join us in this road,” Ms. Trang said at the event.
Summary by Nguyen Thanh Thuy
Translation by [rollinglinks]Vu Quoc Ngu[/rollinglinks]
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