Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly April 6-12: Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh Awarded with Civil Rights Defender of the Year Prize

Defenders’ Weekly | Apr 12, 2015


Vietnamese well-known blogger and political dissident Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh with nickname Me Nam or Mushroom Mother on April 10 was awarded with Civil Rights Defender of the Year prize for 2015 by the Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders.

A number of Catholic followers of Du Loc parish were injured after the clash with police in Ky Anh district, Ha Tinh province in a land dispute case.

On April 7, Phu Yen Court re-opened trial against five police officers accused of torture which led to the death of local resident.

Many Vietnamese died during detention in police station across the nation.

and other news during the week.


U.S. Trade Unions Object to Fast Negotiations on TPP

U.S. Trade Unions and a number of other civil organizations in the country have protested the fast negotiations of Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, saying it has some points not favorable for the U.S.

Celeste Drake, a trade and globalization specialist at the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the U.S., said the country’s trade unions have not protested the agreement but demanded for careful negotiations since there is no chance for amendments once the agreement is signed.

Currently, the U.S. is negotiating with the governments of 11 other countries, including Vietnam, on TPP agreement, which is expected to enhance trade and investment among nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

RFA: Liên đoàn lao động Hoa Kỳ và chiến dịch chống lại quyền đàm phán nhanh đối với TPP


Vietnam Faces Social Fund Crises

The strike of 90,000 workers in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month showed that Vietnam is facing a serious crises regarding social insurance fund.

The communist country may be forced to amend its law on social insurance after the week-lasting strike of over 90,000 workers.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung pledged to submit amendments of the current Law on Social Insurance to meet demands of workers who sought to ask their interests after leaving jobs.

According to economists, Vietnam’s social insurance fund will incur deficit from 2021 and may go bankruptcy in 2034 if the country has taken proper measures to deal with ineffective investments and mismanagement of the fund which is managed by the government.

VOA: Việt Nam đối mặt với khủng hoảng quỹ hưu bổng


Phu Yen Courts Re-opens Trial for Five Police Officers in Torture Leading to Suspect Death

On April 7, the People’s Court of the central province of Phu Yen re-opened the trial for five local police investigators who are accused of torturing and causing the death of a suspect in a stealing case.

According to the allegation, the police officers used rubber batons to beat Ngo Thanh Kieu to death.

Last year, the trial gave the policemen suspension sentences of between one and five years, causing widespread disagreement among Vietnamese.

Speaking to BBC, lawyer Vo An Don, who protects interests of the victim, said he hopes this trial will be more transparent and bring justice for his client.

Last year, due to his assistance for people seeking justice, Tuy Hoa city’s People’s Procuracy and People’s Court proposed to revoke the lawyer licenses.

Mr. Don said he is determined to fight for justice despite suppression from the local authorities.

BBC: VN xử lại vụ công an đánh chết người


Police in Ky Anh Beat Catholic Followers in Du Loc Parish, Many Injured

A number of Catholic followers of Du Loc parish were injured after the clash with police in Ky Anh district, Ha Tinh province in a land dispute case.

The clash happened on the early morning of April 6 after the local authorities sent 800 policemen and militia to Hoa Loc village, Ky Trinh commune to revoke local residents out of their land which is taken for construction of high-voltage electrical transmission system of the state-run Electricity of Vietnam without reasonable compensation.

The clash caused serious injuries to many residents, and Nguyen Xuan Huong, 60, and Dau Phi Hung, 39, were with heaviest injuries and were under special treatment in hospital.

According to state-run media, several policemen were also injured.

Du Loc Catholic followers expressed their concerns about the conflict and hoped to have negotiation with local authorities to peacefully settle the disputes.

Land grabbing is serious problem in Vietnam as authorities in many localities across the nation have taken land from local residents with very low prices to give to foreign and domestic investors for industrial and urban projects.

Many people have been arrested and tried for conducting public disorders and objecting on-duty state officials while trying to protect their land or demand higher prices.

CTNLT: Xảy Ra Ẩu Đã Giữa Giáo Dân Giáo Xứ Dũ Lộc Và Công An Huyện Kỳ Anh


3,500 Workers in Long An Province Continue Strike to Protest Payment Policy

As many as 3,500 workers in Shin Sung Vina in Duc Hoa district in the southern province of Long An continue to strike for the 8th day to demand  for higher salary and bonus policy

The strike started on April 1 to protest the newly-adopted Law on Social Insurance. Later, the demonstrators turned to object the company’s policy on payment and bonus after the workers and the company failed on negotiating on payments during the strike.

At the beginning of the strike, workers and the company agreed that  Shin Sung Vina will pay half of salary during the strike. The workers also asked the company to restore its bonus policy applied by the former CEO.

However, Ms. Tina, the new CEO disagreed to the requirements so workers refused to resume working.

RFA: 3.500 công nhân tại Long An tiếp tục đình công


Ven. Thich Nguyen Ly from Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church Conducts Charity Campaign in Central Highlands

Ven. Thich Nguyen Ly, head of the Social Charity of the Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church on April 7 handed over 2,230 gifts for poor families in the Central Highlands.

The total value of the gifts was VND639.73 million.

PTTPGQT: Hoà thượng Thích Nguyên Lý, Tổng vụ trưởng Tổng vụ Từ thiện Xã hội đi cứu trợ đồng bào ở Tây Nguyên


Hanoi Residents Stand up for Right to Demonstration

On March 29, thousands of people in Hanoi rallied to protest local authorities’ plan to chop down 6,700 aged trees as well as the right to demonstration.

On April 2, 20 former senior military officers sent a petition demanding the Vietnamese government not to use military forces to deal with people but just for protecting the country’s sovereignty.

During the past few years, thousands of Vietnamese have participated in demonstrations to protest the Chinese aggressive violations of the country’s sovereignty, and commemorate the fallen soldiers in Hoang Sa (Paracels) in 1974, northernmost provinces in 1979 and Truong Sa (Spratlys) in 1988.

Many of these demonstrations were violently suppressed by Vietnam’s security forces.

The demonstrators paid a tribute to workers killed in the working accident in Taiwan-invested Formosa project few days earlier.

VOA: Người Hà Nội vùng đứng lên và quyền biểu tình


Two Detainees Die in Police Stations within Week

Two Vietnamese residents were found dead in police stations between April 2 and April 8, the state-run media reported.

Mrs. Nguyen Hong Luong, 62, in Ngoc Ha ward in Ba Dinh district died in the local police station. The local police said she burned herself, however, some witnesses, including policeman, said she was beaten to death by police officers who later burned her in a bid to cause fake circumstance.

Mr. Nguyen Duc Duan, 33, in Tan Tien village, Dong Tao commune, Khoai Chau district, Hung Yen province, on April 8, died in a district police detention for unclear reason.

Police torture is one of the main causes for the deaths of 226 Vietnamese people detained for crime offences in the period between October 2011 and September 2014, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Vietnam adopted the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

VRNs: Một tuần, hai người tử vong sau khi đến trụ sở công quyền


Vietnamese Blogger Awarded with 2015 Civil Rights Defender of the Year

 Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh under pseudonym Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) has been honored with the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award 2015 from the Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders.

Like Ales Bialiatski, the winner of the prestigious award last year, Ms. Quynh was not allowed by the local authority to attend the ceremony held in the Swedish capital city on April 10 with the participation of UN Special Rapporter on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst and UN Special Rapporter on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association and nearly 200 civil rights defenders worldwide.

Ms. Quynh, who is coordinator of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network, is well known for her use of social media to speak out against injustices and human rights abuses in Vietnam since 2006.

Because of her activism for free expression and other universal human rights, she has been arrested, detained, interrogated, harassed and beaten up by security forces on several occasions.

She was charged under Article 258 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “abusing democratic freedoms. She lost her job due to police’ intervention and her passport was confiscated. In spite of these continuing hardships, as a co-founders of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network, she continues to organize “human rights coffee sessions,” social meetings with like-minded bloggers and activists to discuss relevant UN human rights conventions, and to meet with diplomats to raise concerns about fellow bloggers in distress and to advocate for the release of prisoners of conscience.

Despite great personal risk, she is always devoted to speaking up for those who can’t. She continues to be an activist that the Vietnamese authorities target and remain a force to be reckoned with.

At great personal risk, Me Nam has been right at the forefront of human rights activism in Vietnam, the Civil Rights Defenders said about the third recipient of its prize, adding with creativity and openness, she is a source of inspiration as she breaks new ground for freedom of expression and speaks out for those who can’t.

Via a skype video, Ms. Quynh said the prize will encourage her and other Vietnamese human rights activists to further devote to fight for basic human rights and democracy for Vietnam, because “I do not want my children to struggle and do what I’m doing now,” she said.

Civil Rights Defenders, previously known as the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, is an independent expert organization founded in Stockholm in 1982 with the aim of defending human rights, in particular people’s civil and political rights, while also supporting and empowering human rights defenders at risk.

RFA: Mẹ Nấm được trao giải Người Bảo Vệ Quyền Dân Sự