Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly Feb 2-8: HRW Condemns Human Rights Violations in Vietnam

Defenders’ Weekly | Feb 08, 2015

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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.

The HRW urged Vietnam to drop Articles 79 and 88 of the Criminal Code which aim to silence local critics.

On Jan 30, Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, chief monk of the Saigon-based Lien Tri, and foreign-based donors and Buddhist followers handed over presents for leprosy-infected people in Quy Nhon city on the occasion of the Lunar New Year festival or Tet.

On Feb 7, blogger Huynh Cong Thuan sent a letter to call on international human rights organizations to ask Vietnam’s government to improve the country’s human rights situation.

Two young people in Hoc Mon district, Ho Chi Minh City, received severe injuries during interrogation in police station.

And many other interesting news.

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We Are Change Force for Vietnam’s Politics: Activist Anna Huyen Trang

We are the force for political change in Vietnam for better governance, said activist Anna Huyen Trang, who is one of key communication figures of the Saigon-based Redemptory Church.

In her statement sent to people with opposite political view, she said “We are adults and must act properly. Don’t make consequences for children. We must to avoid doing those things on which the next generations will question us. We are the force for social change which will bring better governance.”

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Leprosy-infected People in Quy Nhon Receive Presents Two Weeks Ahead of Tet

On Jan 30, Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, chief monk of the Saigon-based Lien Tri, and foreign-based donors and Buddhist followers handed over presents for leprosy-infected people in Quy Nhon city on the occasion of the Lunar New Year festival or Tet.

Donations came from many Vietnamese nationwide as well as people living abroad.

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Many Vietnamese Families Have No Tet

The Lunar New Year festival or Tet is coming, however, there are numerous Vietnamese families have nothing to prepare for the ten-day holiday.

Those include land petitioners who have sought for years to have land returned or adequate compensation. They have sent letters to many government agencies asking for justice, however, their voice remained unheard.

Families of death-sentenced Nguyen Van Chuong and Ho Duy Hai have no Tet holiday in the past eight years, when the two guys were convicted in unfair trials followed police tortures during interrogation.

Both claimed that they were sentenced for allegation they have not committed.

Their families have sent petitions to many state agencies. They have even conducted long-term demonstrations in public sites as well as asked international human rights organizations to intervene to rescue their innocent sons.

The executions of Chuong and Hai, planned in December last year, have been suspended for further review.

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Land Petitioner Protesting in 12 Years to Demand for Justice

Mr. Doan Thanh Giang, a resident in Bac Son commune, Trang Bom district, Dong Nai province, has been protesting for the past 12 years to demand for justice for his land which was illegally seized by local authorities.

He was forced to bring his family to live in street in Hanoi where daily his family goes to the government representative office to ask for returning his land as well as punishing the law violators.

However,  his family has been subject to police harassment. Police in Hanoi has often thrown human excrement and bricks to his family’s temporarily tent where they spend overnight

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Why Traders Always Disagree with New Market Projects?

Traders in many Vietnamese localities have not agreed to move in newly-built markets as these markets are not convenient, with high construction costs and high fees.

In many place, local authorities have destroyed markets without paying compensation to local traders who have invested much to run. After completing the new markets which are often placed in sites ineffective for trading, authorities set high fees for traders to work in.

On Jan 30, hundreds of traders in Nha Trang held banners to protest local authorities and Song Da JSC, who is the main investor of a local market.  The authorities forced traders to leave their old market while the builder set a number of conditions not fair for traders.

The disputes between the two sides led to self-immolation of Mrs. Nguyen Minh Tan, one of traders, on Jan 31.

The similar situation happened in the central province of Quang Nam, where local authorities have cooperated with a builder to build new market which is not wanted by traders.

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Vietnamese Need to Realize That Communist Goals Are Unreal:  Young Activist

Many Vietnamese, including numerous members of the Vietnamese communist party, realize that the communist ideology and its goals are unreal, said student Nguyen Vu Son (aka papper Nah) on Feb 3 on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the ruling communist party.

The fall of the communism in the former Soviet Union and other countries in the Eastern Europe proved that, said Son who is currently studying in Oklahoma.

During the past 85 years, all of Vietnamese know what has the communist party done for the country, he said. Vietnam is among five countries still following communism, and all of them are authoritarian with undeveloped economy, he noted.

“I wish that those who realize the true should voice for political change to abandon communism which goes against civilization.

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U.S. State Department Unaware of Japan’s Patrol Plan in East Sea

U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said the department is not aware of any plans or proposals for Japan to patrol the South China Sea (Vietnam calls East Sea)  at a press briefing.

Ms. Psaki said she “believe they were comments made” by a Defense Department official.

The U.S. welcomes “a more active role for Japan in ensuring stability and security in Asia” Psaki said.

On Jan 30, the U.S. Defense Department said it would “welcome” future air patrols by Japan over the East Sea, where China is involved in territorial disputes with some Southeast Asian countries.

According to Bloomberg and Reuters, Japanese Defense Minister General Nakatani on Feb 3 declared that “We currently do not patrol there or have a plan to do so, but we are deepening our cooperation with the U.S. and the situation in the South China Sea has an impact on our national security.”

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Vietnam War Veterans, Invalids Fighting for U.S. Live in Misery in Decades

Thousands of military veterans and invalids who fought for the U.S.’s side in the Vietnam War  have lived in misery in the country for decades without support from the communist government.

They have to earn for living by all means, including hard works and donations from other people. They have also faced discrimination from the local authorities.

Many of them have no permanent residence since their properties were confiscated by the communist soldiers after they took over the southern region.

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Two Young People Hospitalized after Being Interrogated in Police Station

Nguyen Van Hai, 22, and Nguyen Cong Trinh, 24, have been brought to hospital for urgent treatment after being tortured by policemen in Xuan Thoi Thuong commune in Hoc Mon district.

Hai and Trinh, residents of District 12 in Ho Chi Minh City, were suspected to steal a gold necklace. They were detained by policemen who severely beat the two guys during questioning in police station.

Both are with many severe injuries on their bodies.

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Blogger Huynh Cong Thuan Sends Urgent Letter Regarding Vietnam Human Rights Violations

Saigon-based blogger Huynh Cong Thuan, a member of the unsanctioned Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam, has sent a letter to international human rights violations to condemn Vietnam’s human rights violations.

In his letter, Thuan said Vietnam’s police have hired thugs to attack activists to attack and halt free movement of outspoken bloggers.

Recently, a number of democracy activists and human rights advocates have been brutally beaten by thugs, he noted in his letter dated Feb 7.

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Human Rights Situation in Vietnam Very Bad: HRW

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.

The HRW urged Vietnam to drop Articles 79 and 88 of the Criminal Code which aim to silence local critics.

Vietnam must conduct political reforms by splitting the government and the state, ensuring basic rights for local citizens and not imprisoning those who voice for multi-party democracy, said Brad Adams, director of HRW in Asia.

The HRW does not want anyone imprisoned just because contacting it or other international organizations, Mr. Adams said, adding his organization will technically support those who bring human rights violations cases to international community.