Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly April 27- May 03: U.S. President Obama Very Concerned about Vietnam’s Human Rights Situation

Defenders’ Weekly | May 03, 2015


President Barack Obama is very concerned about human rights violations in Vietnam, said prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay), who, together with two independent journalists from Russia and Ethiopia on May 01 met with the U.S. president at the White House to discuss on freedom of press and other human rights issues.

The unsanctioned Vietnam Women for Human Rights, which strives to protect the human rights and dignity of women who are victims of government’s oppression, strongly condemned the suppression of Hanoi’s security forces against environmentalists, most of them are women, in the city’s center on Sunday [April 26] during their peaceful demonstration against the city’s plan to chop down 6,700 valuable healthy aged trees in main streets of the city.

Vietnam-origin people in Australia have launched a campaign titled “We Are One” to hold demonstrations to demand Vietnam’s communist government to unconditionally release Nguyen Viet Dung, the leader of the newly-established Republican Party of Vietnam, who is held on the fabricated allegation of public disturbance.

Former prisoner of conscience Dau Van Duong said that April 30 is the black day in Vietnam’s history.

and other news.


Hanoi Suppresses Peaceful Green Demonstration, Detaining 20 Environmentalists

Security forces in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi on April 26 violently dispersed a peaceful green demonstration, detaining for several hours around 20 local environmentalists who protest a controversial plan by the city’s authorities to chop down 6,700 healthy aged trees in main streets.

The violent suppression of Hanoi’s police came around 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, a few minutes after local activists started their 6th peaceful protest in Hoan Kiem Lake in the city’s heart.

Policemen and plainclothes agents stumped into the group of people who hang up banners demanding the city to stop the environment-destructive plan and bring responsible individuals to the court. They arrested the most active participants, including land rights activist Tran Thi Nga, land petitioner Thuy Nguyen, blogger Doan Trang and human rights activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh.

Police forced the detainees into a bus which later went to a police station in Long Bien district, several kilometers away from the city’s center. In the station, police questioned the detainees one by one, and released them several hours later.

One day earlier, Hanoi’s People’s Committee ordered the city’s Police Department not to allow unsanctioned gathering in the city’s center, arguing to ensure peace and stability in the city during the 6-day public holiday commencing April 28. In turn, the Police Department requested security forces in districts and communes to take all measures to prevent local activists from taking part in demonstrations.

Many activists reported that police and local authorities came to their private houses to persuade them not to participate in demonstrations in coming weekends, and threatened to use tough measures against those ignoring their warnings.

The violent suppression and massive arrest were taken after demonstrations in the five consecutive Sundays in the Hanoi’s center without being intervened. Two weeks ago, Hanoi detained a group of five members of the newly-established Republican Party of Vietnam after they joined others environmentalists in green demonstration. Two days later, police released four but still hold the party’s founder and leader Nguyen Viet Hung, accusing him of causing public disturbance.

The communist-ruled government has not tolerated demonstrations which are not controlled by state agencies. In 2011-2014, Hanoi’s security forces violently suppressed a number of anti-China protests and arrested many activists, holding them in re-educational camps before freeing them under domestic and international pressure.

The green campaign started in Hanoi in March to protest the Hanoi’s VND270 trillion ($12.5 billion) project which aims to replace 6,700 aged trees in some main streets in the 2015-2020 period. Environmentalists have found that around 2,000 trees were cut, most of them were healthy and planted by French over 100 years ago.

The campaign has attracted the participation of thousands of people in different social backgrounds in Hanoi and other cities and provinces. Many foreigners have also expressed their sympathy to Vietnamese environmentalists.

Hanoi’s authorities have determined to continue the project despite strong protest of people. They have also ignored the request of Vietnam’s government to stop the project and investigate the massive destruction of aged trees in the city.

RFA: Ít nhất 20 người bị bắt khi tuần hành “Vì một Hà Nội xanh”


Vietnam Women for Human Rights Condemns Hanoi’s Violent Suppression against Environmentalists in City’s Center on Apr 26

On April 26, a group of dozens of female activists with formal long “ao dai” (the traditional dress for Vietnamese women) held a peaceful demonstration in the Hanoi city’s center to protest the local authorities’ plan to fell 6,700 healthy aged trees in some main streets of the capital city.

The city’s security forces violently suppressed the demonstration and detained nearly 20 activists, most of them are women and held them in police station for questioning for several hours.

Two of the detained are members of the Vietnam Women for Human Rights.

The unsanctioned Vietnam Women for Human Rights, which strives to protect the human rights and dignity of women who are victims of government’s oppression, strongly condemned the suppression of Hanoi’s security forces against environmentalists. The detentions of peaceful activists are shame acts of the communist government, violating the country’s Constitution, the association said.

VNWHR: Hội Phụ nữ Nhân quyền lên tiếng về sự đàn áp cuộc tuần hành ngày 26/4/2015


Former Political Prisoner Dau Van Duong: The Black Day of April 30

April 30 is one of the darkest moments of Vietnam’s history as it marked the war during which millions of Vietnamese fought each other, said former political prisoner Dau Van Duong.

He said it is shame for the communists to celebrate the event while for other millions, the day means losses and started massive leaving of millions of people by boats to foreign countries to escape the communist persecution.

During his imprisonment, his found that other prisoners were very excited on the day because they can eat more meat.

Currently, the communist government continues to cheat young people and propagandize them about the war and the socialism, making them to not to care about the country’s future but focus on food and recreation.



WE ARE ONE – Vietnam-origin Australians Rally to Demand Freedom for Republican Party Leader Nguyen Viet Dung

Along with launching a petition for Human Rights Campaign 2015, Vietnamese Australians have rallied to demand release of Nguyen Viet Dung, the founder and leader of the newly-established Republican Party, who is arrested by Hanoi police on the fabricated allegation of conducting public disorders.

During the demonstration on the occasion of the fall of Saigon to communist soldiers, activists collected 600 signatories for Mr. Dung’s freedom and 400 signatories for the Human Rights Campaign 2015,.

The 8406 Bloc plans to collect signatories for the two campaigns on May 9.



HCMC Police Harass Information Hero on Vietnam War Anniversary

Reporters Without Borders urges the police to stop harassing the independent journalist Pham Chi Dung and his family, whose Ho Chi Minh City home was surrounded today by police officers.

The authorities have gone out of their way to gag independent journalists and bloggers today, which the Communist Party is celebrating as the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and its victory over the United States.

One by one, citizen-journalists and bloggers have been placed under close surveillance, subjected to intimidation and, in some cases, given beatings. House arrest measures have been reinforced and independent reporters are being prevented from covering today’s celebrations and demonstrations.

Dung, who is on the Reporters Without Borders list of “information heroes,” has released the text of a letter he has written to local Communist Party secretary Le Thanh Hai and Ho Chin Minh City police chief Nguyen Chi Thanh complaining about the harassment and restrictions on free movement to which he has been subjected for months.

President of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), which was founded last year and is supported by Reporters Without Borders, Dung promotes media freedom and constantly criticizes the party’s control of the media, in which he used to work.

Last year, the authorities confiscated his passport to prevent him from travelling to Geneva to participate in a UN Human Rights Council conference.

“In illegally preventing me from travelling, the behavior of the authorities constitutes living proof of how the State of Vietnam tramples on the human rights defended by the UN Human Rights Council,” Dung’s letter says.

RSF: Cảnh sát quấy rối Anh hùng Thông tin nhân kỷ niệm Chiến tranh Việt Nam


VCHR Press Release: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Places Vietnam on Blacklist for Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief

In its 2015 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom issued today, the U.S.’s Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) placed Vietnam on a list of 17 countries, recommending that they be designated as “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) by the US administration for “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations” of religious freedom. The list includes Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.

USCIRF has placed Vietnam on this blacklist every year since 2001. In 2004 and 2005, the State Department designated Vietnam as a CPC, but removed it in 2006 prior to Vietnam’s admission to the World Trade Organization. Created under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan government advisory body that monitors religious freedom worldwide and makes policy recommendations to the US President, Secretary of State, and Congress. Under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, the U.S. may impose a series of measures, ranging from travel restrictions to economic sanctions, on countries designated as CPCs.

“For Vietnam, the USCIRF’s report comes out on a highly symbolic date – 30th April 2015, the 40th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War which brought the country under communist rule” said Vo Van Ai, President of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR). “On this “Black April” day, the USCIRF’s report paints a somber but highly realistic picture of the plight of religious followers in Vietnam.”

According to the USCIRF’s findings, “the Vietnamese government continues to control all religious activities through law and administrative oversight, restrict severely independent religious practice, and repress individuals and religious groups it views as challenging its authority”. It cites widespread abuses over the past year of independent Buddhists of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), Khmer-Krom Buddhists, Cao Dai, Catholics, Hmong Protestants, Montagnards, Mennonites, and Hoa Hao. The report esteems that “at least 100-200 prisoners of conscience are detained in Vietnam, some for their religious activity or their religious freedom activity”.

Detailing violations against the UBCV, the report cites the long-term detention of UBCV leader Thích Quảng Độ, the harassment of monks and laypersons at Long Quang Pagoda in Hue in January 2014 and the frequent Police harassments of Buddhist youth leader Lê Công Cầu.

Quê Mẹ: THÔNG CÁO BÁO CHÍ NGÀY 30.4.2015 – Vì đàn áp tôn giáo, Việt Nam bị ghi danh vào sổ đen trong bản Phúc trình tình hình tôn giáo của Uỷ hội Hoa Kỳ Bảo vệ Tự do Tôn giáo trên Thế giới


Prominent Blogger Dieu Cay Asks President Obama to Pay Attention to Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience

Prominent blogger and former political prisoner Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) has handed over a list of Vietnamese prisoners of conscience to President Barack Obama and asked him to pay attention to these activists still in detention in Vietnam.

The list included Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Ta Phong Tan, AnhBaSam Nguyen Huu Vinh, Ms Bui Thi Minh Hang, compositors Tran Vu Anh Binh and Viet Khang.

Mr. Hai, who was forced to go directly from Vietnam’s prison to the U.S., said in an interview to RFA immediately after leaving the White House where he discussed with President Obama on freedom of press and other human rights issues.

Mr. Hai also presented the current situation of violations of freedom of press and freedom of expression in Vietnam at the meeting with the American leader on the occasion of the World Day of Freedom of Press.

RFA: Blogger Điếu Cày trả lời RFA ngay sau khi gặp TT Obama tại Nhà Trắng


Land Petitioner Le Thi Kim Thu Denouncing for Land Loss during Past 27 Years

On Aug 14, 2008, farmer Le Thi Kim Thu was arrested in Hanoi for participating in a protest to demand for justice and returning land which was illegally taken from the local authorities.

After 27 months in prison, in November 2009, Thu filled petitions to denounce land grabbing by local authorities. However, instead of being given justice, she was arrested again and put in prison.

Thu was released on July 6, 2014. She has continued to fill denunciations to protest the injustice which has been along with her family during the past 27 years.

DTD: Chuyện Khiếu Kiện Kéo Dài 27 năm của Dân Oan Lê Thị Kim Thu: Chuyện dài “Tân Cường Hào Ác Bá”


President Obama Concerned about Human Rights Violations in Vietnam

U.S. President is very concerned about the violations of human rights, poor freedom of press and expression in Vietnam, said prominent activist Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay).

Mr. Hai made this statement after he and two independent journalists from Russia and Ethiopia held a meeting with President Obama at the White House on May 2 to discuss freedom of press and other human rights issues.

During the meeting, Mr. Hai handed over a list of Vietnamese prisoners of conscience to President Barack Obama and asked him to pay attention to these activists still in detention in Vietnam.

The list included Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Ta Phong Tan, AnhBaSam Nguyen Huu Vinh, Ms Bui Thi Minh Hang, compositors Tran Vu Anh Binh and Viet Khang.

BBC: TT. Obama ‘rất quan tâm’ nhân quyền VN