Vietnam Human Right Defenders’ Weekly March 30-April 5: Human Rights Activists Being Harassed Continuously

Defender’s Weekly | Apr 05, 2015


On Mar 30, Ms. Tran Thi Nga, member of the Steering committee of the Vietnamese Women for Human Rights was kidnapped by security agents in Ha Nam province when she was on her way to Hanoi to participate in a meeting between lawmakers from Sweden and Germany with representatives of Vietnamese civil organizations.

Ho Chi Minh City-based human rights activist Nguyen Ho Nhat Thanh, member of the Vietnam Path Movement, was kept in situations of de facto house arrest during the five-day 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) which was held in the capital city of Hanoi on March 28-April 1.

The family of Huynh Trong Hieu, another human rights defender in HCM City was also harassed by local police during the same period.

On Mar 31, tens of thousands of Vietnamese workers started a week-lasting strike to protest amendments in the country’s newly-adopted Law on Social Insurance.

24 unsanctioned civil societies jointly issue a statement calling for support from other civil organizations from the ten-nation regional ASEAN bloc and demanding the Vietnamese communist government to stop harassments against human rights activists.

and other news.


Demonstration “Cứu lấy cây xanh/Protect trees” in Hanoi

On Mar 29, thousands of people in Hanoi gathered in the city’s center to demand the local authorities to clarify the city’s plan to chop down 6,700 aged trees in the city’s main streets. Earlier, the city’s People Committee ordered to temporarily suspend the plan which would turn the city in desert.

Hundreds of people held demonstration in Hoan Kiem Lake where security was tightened. A large number of security agents, policemen and militia stationed in all main streets while police cars ran and called for dispersal.

The peaceful demonstration of green activists ended at lunch.

RFA: Diễu hành “Cứu lấy cây xanh” tại Hà Nội


Vietnam Human Rights Defender Kidnapped, Beaten on Her Way to Meet Foreign Lawmakers

 Ha Nam province-based activist Tran Thi Nga, a member of the unsanctioned The Vietnam Women for Human Rights, was kidnapped and severely beaten by local security agents on March 31 when she tried to go to Hanoi where she was invited to meet foreign legislators who attended the  132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132).

In Tuesday’s early morning, numerous policemen and plainclothes agents gathered to Ms. Nga’s private house in the northern province of Ha Nam, about 60 kilometers from the capital city of Hanoi. They threatened her, asking her not to go out.

However, Nga was determined and she, together with two small boys somehow succeed to take a bus to Hanoi. Some police officers followed her and they took her to a 16-seat car and drove back to Ha Nam.

On the way to return to Ha Nam, police officers beat her in the car in the witness of her two children. They also confiscated her items, including cell phones.

The kidnappers freed her when they arrived in Ha Nam. Later, a police officer from the ward where she resides, came and give back the cell phones and other items.

Ms. Nga is well-known labor activist in Vietnam. She has also attended in a number of demonstrations against China’s invasions in the East Sea as well as protested the government’s persecution against local dissent.

She was violently attacked by thugs in a number of cases. Last May, she was beaten with broken leg and other serious injuries.

Along participating in the five-day event, legislators from other countries, including Sweden, Germany and the U.S. held meetings with local unsanctioned civil organizations and activists to learn more about the real human rights situation in the communist nation.

Vietnam’s security forces don’t want foreign guests to meet local activists and blocked a number of them from going to the meetings, however, a number of them still overcame to attend and meet with legislators from the U.S., Germany and Sweden in Hanoi.

PNNQVN: SOS: Thành viên hội PNNQVN bị công an bắt cóc


 Vietnamese Human Rights  Activists Harassed during IPU-132

 Vietnamese human rights activists across the nation had been harassed, detained or kept in situations of de facto house arrest during the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) which was held in the capital city of Hanoi on March 28-April 1.

Along with taking part in the five-day event, lawmakers from some countries, such as the U.S., Sweden and Germany held separate meetings with local activists and civil organizations. However, only a small number of local activists succeed to come to the meetings while majority of them were barred from security forces.

On the morning session, the Committee for Democracy and Human Rights of the IPU-132 adopted the Resolution prepared by the IPU-131. The resolution reaffirmed that human rights are the basic of the life. International law and country’s sovereignty need to take human rights as a center.

RFA: Công dân hoạt động nhân quyền bị cản trở


Tens of Thousands of Vietnamese Workers Strike to Protest Amendments of Social Insurance Law

About 90,000 workers in the HCM City-based Pouyen Vietnam factory in Tan Tao Industrial Zone on March 26 started their strike to protest the amendments of the Social Insurance Law which became effective in 2015.

According to the law, workers who have paid social insurance need to wait until retirement age to get their money instead of one-time payment.

Independent journalist Truong Minh Duc informed that the strike continues on March 31 and it caused serious traffic jam in the national road No. 1 near the factory.

Local authorities used large number of policemen and militia to try to stop the strike while workers peacefully rallied in streets.

Workers in other localities also demanded their rights regarding social insurance, Mr. Duc said.

The strike occurred in the context that a delegation of U.S.’s Congress led by Representative Nancy Pelosi visited Vietnam. Hanoi and Washington are intensively negotiating on TPP agreement. The U.S. has expressed its concerns about lacking of independent trade unions in Vietnam.

VOA: Hàng nghìn công nhân Việt xuống đường đòi quyền lợi


Foreign Legislators Meet with Vietnamese Activists on Sidelines of IPU-132

Many foreign lawmakers held separate meetings with Vietnamese human rights activists on the sidelines of the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) .

On March 29, labor activist Do Thi Minh Hanh and three others met and had a dinner with German legislators who wanted to investigate the activities of Vietnamese human rights defenders.

However, Vietnam’s security forces barred two other activists from attending the meeting, Miss Hanh informed.

Twenty unsanctioned civil organizations signed a joint petition which alerts international community that the Vietnamese legislative body National Assembly is a rubber stamp controlled by the ruling communist party.

VRNs: Nghị sĩ nhiều nước gặp gỡ các nhà hoạt động VN bên lề IPU


Human Rights Activist Huynh Trong Hieu Persecuted by Police on March 31-April 1

Ho Chi Minh City-based activist Huynh Trong Hieu, coordinator of the Religious and Ethnic Minority Defenders, informed that his family had been harassed continuously by local authorities on March 31-April 01.

Policemen came to the rent house of Mr. Hieu and demanded for residence registration. When Hieu refused to open the door, they insulted and threatened to kill his family.

Despite the continuous harassment of the local authorities, members of his family have devoted to the unsanctioned Religious and Ethnic Minority Defenders. They wish to alert the public and expects the public to voice to protect human rights defenders.

DTD: Huỳnh Trọng Hiếu tường trình về sự sách nhiễu của công an ngày 31/3/2015 và 1/4/2015


HCM City-based Human Rights Activist not Allowed to Go Out During IPU-132

Ho Chi Minh City-based human rights activist Nguyen Ho Nhat Thanh was barred from Vietnam’s security forces from going out during the time when the communist nation hosted the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) which was held in the capital city of Hanoi on March 28-April 1.

Mr. Thanh, who is a member of the unsanctioned human rights and pro-democracy organization The Vietnam Path Movement, was blocked at his private apartment in Saigon, the biggest economic hub in the one-party country. A group of eight plainclothes agents were stationed around and did not allow him and his wife to go out.

Mr. Thanh said he recognized a number of the agents in the district and communal police who have been following him for months. Others are from the city’s police department and the Ministry of Public Security, Thanh said.

The agents stationed non-stop and remained silent when Thanh questioned the reason for blocking him. The activist suggested that they were assigned not to allow him to go to Hanoi to meet with foreign delegates who were attending the IPU-132.

Along participating in the five-day event, legislators from other countries, including Sweden, Germany and the U.S. held meetings with local unsanctioned civil organizations and activists to learn more about the real human rights situation in the communist nation.

Vietnam’s security forces don’t want foreign guests to meet local activists and blocked a number of them from going to the meetings, however, a number of them still overcame to attend and meet with legislators from the U.S., Germany and Sweden in Hanoi.

Mr. Thanh said he had no plan to go to Hanoi during these days. He thinks that Vietnamese people must realize that their basic human rights are being violated by the communist government. The civilized world could not assist Vietnamese people unless they voice first and demand the government to respect their human rights, he noted.

Currently, most of the population remains unaware of their rights, he added.

He called for international support in promoting human rights in Vietnam by providing knowledge for local people through organizing seminars and training courses in human rights.

Vietnam’s government has reiterated to promote human rights in the country, however, its real purpose is to receive more economic support from international community, Mr. Thanh noted.

According to social network, a number of Vietnamese activists were detained or blocked from traveling to Hanoi when the IPU-132 was held in Hanoi.

Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (nickname Me Nam or Mushroom Mother) was detained by Nha Trang police on her way to take a flight to Hanoi while Saigon-based human rights defender Pham Ba Hai was forced to be back to his home when he tried to go to the airport. Both were invited by the German Embassy in Hanoi to meet with legislators from Germany and Sweden.

RFA: Nhà hoạt động Nguyễn Hồ Nhật Thành bị giam lỏng tại gia


Vietnam Wildcat Strike Prolongs at Footwear Factory Outsourcing for Adidas

A wildcat strike by about 90,000 workers of a Ho Chi Minh City-based footwear factory, operated by 100%-Taiwanese-invested Pou Chen Corp., which makes footwear for numerous brands including Adidas has prolonged on Wednesday, according to reports by state media.

This is the largest strike recorded so far this year and many of the workers grouped and caused a serious traffic jam in An Lac section on National Highway 1 to oppose the latest insurance law.

The strike continues even though Deputy Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep on March 30 afternoon met with officials of Ho Chi Minh City authorities to try to explain.

Mr. Diep told Nong Thon Ngay Nay newspaper that he directly worked with the trade union and workers of the factory on Tuesday [March 31] over the law that is set to come into effect in the next nine months.

In the March 31 afternoon shift, some workers resumed working, the paper said.

Vietnam’s social insurance fund is estimated to fall short of about VND56 trillion ($2.6 billion) a year, representing a third of the fund’s revenues collected.

Between 50% and 75% of firms in Vietnam do not pay their social insurance fees for workers, state media said.

Vietnam’s labor authorities have proposed the prime minister seek a green light from the National Assembly’s Standing Committee to consider amending the 2014 law on social insurance to enable workers to take a lump sum now or hold on to their retirement pension after a weeklong strike at a footwear factory that outsources for Nike and Adidas.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs on Wednesday requested relevant agencies to inform workers who were on a one-week strike at a footwear factory operated by Pou Yuen Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan district of legal revision in hopes that they will get back to work soon, the state-run Saigon Times Daily newspaper reported.

Dang Ngoc Tung, chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor said on Tuesday that he understood the workers’ concerns about their legitimate rights and benefits, saying the confederation would listen to them and send their proposals to authorities.

All social insurance policies are kept unchanged in line with the existing law on social insurance towards the year’s end, the paper said.

Reuters said in a Thursday report that production resumed at the footwear factory in Vietnam on Thursday after a rare six-day strike in a country aggressively courting investment for one of Asia’s fastest-growing manufacturing centers.

“Pou Yuen Vietnam, which employs 80,000 workers, makes footwear for brands including Nike Inc and Adidas, Lacoste, Converse and Reebok. The striking employees had been disgruntled about a social insurance law that goes into effect from 2016, which restricts the scope of entitlements for a lump sum payment if they leave,” the report said.

The U.S.’s news agency Associated Press also explained in a report that the workers ended a weeklong strike Thursday after the government agreed to their demands on retirement payouts.

At a monthly government meeting, the prime minister gave a nod to the proposals by the ministry and the confederation to amend the social insurance law that is slated to come into effect on January 1 next year.

Economists and analysts cautioned that Vietnam should revamp its economy to raise the productivity of its goods instead of mainly basing on cheap labor costs to attract foreign investment inflows.

Vietnamese goods, particularly exports cannot compete with those produced by the developed economies with interest rates of 0.25% per year, said a Ho Chi Minh City-based analyst, adding the current economic revamp is sluggish and stuck due to rampant corruption.

BBC: ‘Phong trào công nhân VN đã trưởng thành’


A brief statement by genuine Vietnamese civil society organizations

As many as 24 Vietnamese unsanctioned civil organizations which are excluded by the communist government from the so-called “Vietnamese national process for ACSC/APF 2015” have jointly issued a statement calling for support from ASEAN civil societies and demanding the Vietnamese government to respect human rights.

Their statement aims:

(1) Urging the Vietnamese Government to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience.

(2) Urging the Vietnamese Government to stop persecution and arbitrary arrests of dissidents, human rights defenders, and unregistered religious groups.

(3) Demanding that the Vietnamese Government implement a transparent and verifiable process to repeal articles of the Penal Code that violate internationally recognized human rights, such as the criminal laws against  “injuring the national unity,” “abusing democratic freedoms”, and “propaganda against the state.”

(4) Demanding that the Vietnamese Government reform the laws to comply with international standards regarding human rights, social justice, and non-discrimination.

(5) Urging the Vietnamese Government to change the laws and social, administrative, and political institutions to facilitate the formation and activities of all independent civil society organizations.

(6) Demanding that the Vietnamese Government immediately stop its smear campaigns in the news media and cyber-attacks against dissidents, bloggers, prisoners of conscience, and human right activists.

They said Vietnamese activists have been victims of Vietnamese communist dictatorship for a long time.

Vietnamese dissidents and human rights defenders are frequently put under surveillance, harassed, persecuted and even imprisoned for their peaceful work. Human rights and dignity, and even the lives of Vietnamese men and women, are trampled on by police and security forces while GONGOs look the other way. Because the government-sponsored NGOs run by the Vietnamese Fatherland Front (VCP’s instrument) continue supporting the authorities to oppose human rights, civil liberties, and the democratization of Vietnam.

DTD: Tuyên bố của các tổ chức XHDS độc lập ở Việt Nam