Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Jan 26-Feb 1: Prisoners of Conscience Nguyen Van Duyet and Hoa Hao Buddhist Follower Bui Van Tham Complete Their Imprisonments
Defenders’ Weekly | Feb 01, 2015
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On Jan 30, prisoners of conscience Nguyen Van Duyet and Bui Van Tham, who were convicted with charges of “attempt to overthrow the people’s government” and “public disorders”, completed their imprisonments.
Twenty four Vietnamese civil societies organizations reported Vietnam’s human rights violation in 2014 to UN’s agencies to describe the increasing harassment of the Vietnamese government against local people.
The pro-democracy 8406 bloc has called on Vietnamese people in the country and abroad to jointly conduct protests to demand for removal of Article 4 of the country’s Constitution 2013.
A number of political prisoners have conducted hunger strike to protest inhumane treatment of prisons’ authorities.
and a number of other interesting news.
Statement of IJAVN regarding Thai Binh Authorities Harassment against Visitors to Former Political Prisoner Tran Anh Kim
A few day after Vietnam and the EU held a human rights dialogue, on Jan 21, police in Thai Binh city in suppressed a group of 13 activists who came to visit Mr. Tran Anh Kim, a local political dissident who just completed his 66-month imprisonment.
Three members of the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) namely Vice President Nguyen Tuong Thuy, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Giang and JB Nguyen Huu Vinh, were among the harassed activists.
The visitors were beaten and insulted, then detained without legal grounds for 6 hours at the police station of Tran Hung Dao ward in Thai Binh city. Many of them had their personal belongings taken away and the data in their video and audio recorders destroyed. Especially, journalist Vinh was brutally beaten and severely injured, forcing him to undergo long-term medical treatment.
Faced with this inhuman act of brutality, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vietnam indignantly states:
1.That we vehemently oppose this gross violation of the law by the police of Tran Hung Dao ward, the police and the government of Thai Binh city, Thai Binh province.
- That the government and police of Thai Binh city are solely responsible for all consequences of their terrorist act in Tran Hung Dao Ward on Jan 21, 2015.
- That this act of terrorism by the police and city government of Thai Binh city is extremely dangerous, which creates a bad precedent enforcement of civil rights and human rights, and badly smears the image of Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the international arena.
4.That, given the fact that Thai Binh is a locality within the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and not an independent country, we demand the police and local authorities of Thai Binh province to comply with the laws of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, to protect lives and property of theafore said members of IJAVN as well as all other citizens who engaged in lawful activities in the territory of the province.
This statement was sent to all international agencies and organizations on democracy and human rights.
VNTB: Tuyên bố số 4/Hội NBĐLVN v/v chính quyền Thái Bình đàn áp đoàn thăm TNLT Trần Anh Kim
Seminar on Dropping of Death Penalty in Saigon
A seminar on removal of death penalty was held in the Saigon-based Redemptory Church on Jan 26, with numerous participants, including relatives of death-sentenced Ho Duy Hai and Nguyen Van Chuong, as well as representatives of Catholic Church, Cao Dai Church, Evangelica Mennonite, civil societies and diplomatic officials from the U.S., Australia, Germany and the EU.
A representative of Australia’s General Consulate said many foreign countries have strived to call on Vietnam to drop death penalty while a Belgian diplomat said the priority of dialogues between the EU and Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to ask the communist government to remove the capital punishment, considering it as a commitment for human rights improvement.
Dong Nai Police Fabricate Offences to Charge Three Anti-China Activists: Blogger
According to the investigation conclusion of Dong Nai police, anti-China activists Le Thi Phuong Anh, Pham Minh Vu and Do Nam Trung violate Article 258 of the Criminal Code.
Anh, Vu and Trung, members of the unsanctioned The Brotherhood of Democracy, will be brought to the People’s Court of Dong Nai province on Feb 12 on allegation of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens.”
Blogger Le Anh Hung, who is the husband of Mrs. Anh, said the allegations against the trio are fabricated and aiming to silence local dissent.
Pro-democracy 8406 Bloc Calls for Online Protesting to Demand for Multi-Party Democracy
The pro-democracy 8406 Bloc has called on Vietnamese to conduct online protests to demand the removal of Article 4 of the Constitution 2013 which grants political monopoly of the ruling communist nation.
Local activists can use online tools to post their statements which demand for the removal of Article 4 of the Constitution 2013.
According to Article 4, the Communist Party of Vietnam is only the party eligible to rule the nation.
The article is anti-democracy and causes harm to the country’s development, said the bloc, whose members have been severely suppressed.
Freedom in The World 2015: Vietnam Is Not Free’
According to the U.S.-based Freedom House, Vietnam remains an entrenched one-party state, and the regime imposed harsher penalties for free speech online, arrested protesters, and continued to ban work by human rights organizations.
In Freedom House’s survey on political rights and other civil rights in 195 countries, Vietnam was ranked with the lowest score on political rights, meaning Vietnamese people have no political rights.
Catholic priest Phan Van Loi, a political dissident, said Vietnam’s democracy was very bad in 2014.
“The Vietnamese human rights situation has worsened, according to the report of civil societies. The communist government has become more violent and suppressed local people from all classes as it saw local citizens have demanded more rights: farmers demand for land rights, workers demand for higher salaries, people demand for religious freedom while political dissidents demand for democracy,” he said.
Hoa Hao Buddhist Follower Bui Van Tham Completes His 30-month Imprisonment
Hoa Hao Buddhist follower Bui Van Tham on Jan 26 completed his 30-month imprisonment and went out of Phu Yen province-based Xuan Phuoc Prison, 800 kilometers of his home in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.
Mr. Tham from was arrested on July 26, 2012 after he organized a traditional religious ceremony to commemorate Hoa Hao Buddhist Church leaders in his private house.
Three members of his family were arrested just because they practice freedom of religion which is enshrined in the country’s Constitutions.
Recently, many Hoa Hao Buddhist followers have been harassed by Vietnam’s authorities, especially on the occasion of the commemoration of Buddha Master Huynh Phu So, who was killed by Vietnamese communists in 1947.
Vietnam’s government has tried to closely control all religions by appointing religious clerks. May Hoa Hao followers don’t want to be managed by state people.
Rising Number of Vietnam Political Prisoners Conducting Hunger Strike to Protest Inhumane Treatment
The number of Vietnamese political prisoners conducting hunger strike to protest inhumane treatment has increased.
Ms. Ho Thi Lan, a sister of political prisoner Ho Thi Bich Khuong informed that Khuong was transferred from the central province of Thanh Hoa to the Hanoi-based Thanh Xuan Prison. However, authorities did not allow her to take with her personal things from the former place and she is conducting a hunger strike to protest the prison’s move.
Earlier in Prisoner 5 in Thanh Hoa province’s Yen Dinh district, Khuong and other political prisoners Nguyen Dang Minh Man, Can Thi Theu and Ta Phong Tan also held hunger strike to condemn wrongdoings of prison’s staff.
On Jan 24, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, the mother of political prisoner Dinh Nguyen Kha visited him in Xuyen Moc Prison in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and learned that Kha and other fellows such as Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, Tran Vu Anh Binh and Dang Xuan Dieu have been fasting for the 10th day to protest inhumane treatment of prison’s authorities against prisoners.
Mr. Dieu’s case is very concerned as the prison’s authorities refused to provide proper medical treatment as he asked earlier. His health condition has worsened.
Other prisoners have fasted to protest suppression of the prison’s authorities.
Vietnam: Tight Control of Critics, Democracy Advocates in 2014
The human rights situation in Vietnam in 2014 continued to be characterized by one-party rule, politically motivated convictions, lack of labor rights, widespread police abuse, and an escalating land crisis, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2015.
The Vietnamese government kept tight control over freedom of expression and association as bloggers, human rights defenders, labor and land rights activists, and religious and democracy advocates continued to face harassment, intimidation, physical assault, and imprisonment.
“Vietnam’s revolving door of political prisoners continued in 2014, with some coming out but an even greater number of peaceful activists going into the country’s prisons as convicted criminals,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Many of these releases were made to gain international favor, but the fact that the number of people convicted was more than double those released undermines the Vietnamese government’s attempt to put forward a face of reform.”
In 2014, Vietnam prosecuted at least 29 dissidents and activists and sentenced them to a total of 129 years in prison. Among those convicted for their peaceful advocacy were bloggers Truong Duy Nhat and Bui Thi Minh Hang. The authorities arrested at least 13 other rights activists pending investigation and/or trial, including prominent bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh (known as Anh Ba Sam), Hong Le Tho (known as Nguoi Lot Gach), and Nguyen Quang Lap (known as Bo Lap).
The government released 12 political prisoners before the end of their prison terms. Prominent blogger Dinh Dang Dinh died shortly after being released. Legal activist Cu Huy Ha Vu and blogger Nguyen Van Hai (known as Dieu Cay) were granted temporary parole and sent to the United States. If they return to Vietnam, they will have to serve the rest of their sentences.
Other forms of harassment, including intimidation, brief detention, and physical assaults, intensified in 2014, Human Rights Watch said. At least 14 rights activists, including former political prisoners Huynh Ngoc Tuan, Nguyen Bac Truyen, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Van Dai, and Nguyen Hoang Vi, reported that they were attacked and assaulted by anonymous thugs. No one was charged in any of these cases.
Police continued to restrict movement to prevent citizens from attending rights-related events and to target unrecognized branches of the Cao Dai church, the Hoa Hao Buddhist church, Protestant and Mennonite house churches, and the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). At least 20 people were convicted during the first nine months of 2014 for participating in religious groups unapproved by the authorities.
Police brutality, including deaths in police custody, reached near-epidemic levels, Human Rights Watch said. In 2014, even the heavily controlled state media frequently published reports about police abuse. Many detainees were allegedly beaten to extract confessions, sometimes for crimes they maintained they did not commit. Victims of beatings included children. In many cases, those killed in police custody were being held for minor infractions. Police frequently provided causes, including alleged suicide, for custodial deaths that strained credulity and gave the appearance of systematic cover-ups.
In a welcome move, in November the National Assembly ratified the U.N. Convention against Torture (CAT). However, Human Rights Watch expressed concern over Vietnam’s reservation on article 20, which requires a state party to cooperate and respond to inquiries about individual cases made by the U.N. committee responsible for the implementation of CAT.
“Ratification of the UN Convention against Torture is a milestone for Vietnam, but explicitly refusing to cooperate with the UN on individual cases calls into question the government’s sincerity to implement the treaty,” Adams said. “2015 will show whether CAT ratification was just a public relations stunt or will have real meaning for the people of Vietnam.”
24 Unsanctioned Civil Societies Organizations Alert Vietnam’s Human Rights Violation in 2014
Twenty four Vietnamese independent civil society organizations have issued a report to warn international community and Vietnamese people about the blatant, illegal and systematic crackdowns on human rights defenders and dissidents of Vietnam’s communist government, especially in 2014.
The report lays bare the duality of human rights policy that the Hanoi government has been implementing actively. One hand they get the international community to believe their willingness to improve human rights in Vietnam. On the other hand, they continue to maintain the totalitarian regime with serious persecution, not respecting for freedoms and human dignity of their citizens.
Former Political Prisoner Nguyen Van Duyet: I Will Continue to Fight for Democracy
Nguyen Van Duyet, who on Jan 30 completed his 42-month imprisonment on conviction of “conducting attempt to overthrow the people’s government” under Article 79 of the Criminal Code, said he will continue to fight for multi-party democracy and seek for human rights.
Duyet, who is still under four-year probation period, said he has never regretted his activities by which the communist government put him in prison.
Duyet was released few days after his father died. The communist authorities refused his request to be freed earlier to attend his father’s funeral.
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