July 6, 2015
Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly June 29-July 5: Pro-democracy Dissident Released Five Months Ahead of Scheduled Prior to Visit of Communist Leader to U.S
Defenders’ Weekly | Jul 05, 2015
On June 29, democracy fighter Le Thanh Tung was released from prison five months ahead of the end of his four-year sentence for anti-state crimes, a move may be linked to the visit of communist leader Nguyen Phu Trong to the U.S. on July 7-9.
Many Vietnamese activists have been banned from going abroad by the communist government. Ms. Tran Thuy Nga and Ms. Ta Minh Tu are the new cases on which authorities refused to grant them passports due to their membership in the Vietnam Women for Human Rights.
Hoa Hao Buddhist followers on July 3 gathered in An Giang province to mark the sect’s establishment anniversary, however, they were violently dispersed by local security forces.
The Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam condemned forced detention of its President Dr. Pham Chi Dung.
and many other news.
One More Illegal Massive Land Seizure in Tuyen Quang Province
Local authorities in Son Duong district in the northern province of Tuyen Quang on June 22 violently evicted people in Tu Thinh commune to rob their land.
The 90-year female mother of army veteran Chu Van Truong was brought out of her house by policemen and militia sent by the local authorities.
Mr. Truong, who fought against China’s invasion in Vi Xuyen battle, explored the land, however, the Son Duong district leadership led by People’s Committee Chairman Le Hong Quang illegally seized.
Press Release: Independent Vietnam Women for Human Rights Issues Report on Vietnam’s Government Suppression against Feminists
On June 24, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) opens its 61st meeting in Geneva to review its implementation in some countries, including Vietnam.
On the occasion, the unsanctioned Vietnam Women for Human Rights submitted a report to present Vietnam’s government harassment against local female activists.
Vietnam’s government has deployed hard law to limit activities of independent civil societies as well as halt the rights to assembly.
IJAVN Issues Statement to Protest HCM City Police’s Suppression against Its President
Since the beginning of June 2015, Security Investigation Department (SID) of the Ho Chi Minh City Police has three times summoned journalist Pham Chi Dung, president of the Independent Journalists Association of (IJAVN) to interrogate him about “contents of articles linking to blogger Nguyen Quang Lap.”
After Dr. Dung refused to come all the three times, police in HCMC on June 25 detained him for one day.
On 26/06 Dung was again detained and brought to SID’s office for a whole day interrogation. Along questioning about writer Lap, police also asked about the IJAVN and its website The Vietnam Times. The police demanded the IJAVN to stop its official website.
Pham Chi Dung was warned by SID that “from now on he will be forcibly summoned anytime and anywhere”. Moreover, the police officer who interrogated Pham Chi Dung forced him to sign the minute of statements and interfered the right to pick up his child from the daycare.
The purposes of SID’s activities – summoning, brutally treating, content of questioning, and other harassment activities in the last few months – cannot be modified other than expelling IJAVN and Pham Chi Dung function as the head of IJAVN. Then SID disregards IJAVN’s attempts for peaceful debating with the government about policies and implementation those policies in order to support Vietnamese people, especially the poor ones.
The activities of SID confirmed the fact that Vietnamese authorities does not respect the commitment to their role as a member of United Nation Human Rights Committee.
Those violations were implemented a few days ahead the trip to The United States of America of Nguyen Phu Trong- chief of Vietnam Communist Party whereas this trip is considered extremely important for Vietnamese economy and security. However, it will surely encounter critics about its violations on human rights from international and Vietnamese overseas communities.
Being subject to intimidating and violating to exclude IJAVN – a civil society organization which is founded based on Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1992 and 2013, members of IJAVN strongly oppose not only SID’s intimidation, harassment and detention towards Pham Chi Dung in the last few months but also that of SID towards some members of IJAVN.
IJAVN urges internal and international agencies, NGOs, and governments those highly praise democracy and human rights as well as media organizations to support IJAVN during this tremendous intimidation.
FVPoC Holds Workshop on Torture in HCMC on UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
On the occasion of UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture , the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience held a workshop on torture in Saigon on [June 26] with aim to warm the torture situation in Vietnam against human rights activists.
Numerous activists and representatives of religious organizations as well as foreign diplomats attended the event held in Lien Tri Pagoda.
Recently, many political dissidents and human rights activists have been brutally attacked by thugs or plainclothes security agents.
Democracy Activist Le Thanh Tung Released Five Months Before Scheduled
Authorities in Vietnam on June 27 released democracy fighter Le Thanh Tung from prison five months ahead of the end of his four-year sentence for anti-state crimes.
The release was made few days ahead of the visit of communist leader Nguyen Phu Trong to the U.S.
However, Tung will be under three years under house arrest.
The ex-soldier and freelance journalist was sentenced in August 2012 by a Hanoi court under Article 88 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits “conducting propaganda against the state,” a charge rights groups say Vietnam routinely uses to silence dissent.
Tung, who had been detained in December 2011, was affiliated with Bloc 8406—a banned coalition of political groups advocating democratic reform in the one-party communist state.
Vietnam has often used political prisoners in exchange of economic and political favors from the Western governments.
U.S. Senators Call on President Obama to Voice Human Rights Situation in Vietnam
Senator Bill Cassidy (Republican, Louisiana) has sought support from other senators to jointly send a letter to President Barack Obama to call on him to raise human rights issues in Vietnam in his upcoming meeting with visiting Vietnamese communist leader.
The draft letter urged President Obama to demand Vietnam to release political prisoners, respect religious freedom and labor tights as well as remove controversial articles which aim to silent local dissent.
Two More Vietnamese Human Rights Activists Rejected to Obtain Passports
Vietnam’s police have rejected to grant passports for two other local human rights activists without giving specific reasons for that, the victims complained.
On July 2, Ms. Ta Minh Tu from the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu and Ms. Tran Thi Nga from the northern province of Ha Nam, went to immigration departments in their localities to apply for passports. However, local authorities rejected, saying the applicants were not eligible to obtain the documents as they have been banned from going abroad.
The reason for the ban is that Ms. Tu and Ms. Nga are members of the unsanctioned Vietnamese Women for Human Rights which fights for human rights and multi-party democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.
Police officers in Ha Nam told Ms. Nga, who is also a labor activist, that she is banned from foreign trips from Dec 31, 2012 until Dec 31, 2015 under Article 21 of the government’s Decree 136.
However, the police did not show any legal document from authorized agency for banning. They even threatened Ms. Nga.
Meanwhile, Ms. Tu, a younger sister of imprisoned political dissident Ta Phong Tan, went to Bac Lieu province’s Immigration Department to pick up her passport she applied before. Police officers of the department said she was not granted with passport due to her membership of the Vietnamese Women for Human Rights which is considered by Vietnam’s communist government as illegal organization.
Ms. Tu recorded her working with two police officers of the department, however, three female policemen violently took her recorder and erased the file.
Along with imposing measures to harass and suppress local political dissidents and human rights activists, Vietnam’s communist government has banned them from going abroad. Police have refused to grant passports for many peoples and confiscate the documents from others, saying their foreign travels may harm the country’s security.
On May 18, Professor Dr. Nguyen Hue Chi, a prominent scholar and co-founder of the dissident website Bauxite Vietnam was barred from taking a flight to the U.S. where he will visit his daughter. Security forces in Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport violently confiscated his passport.
Later, 155 intellectuals jointly petitioned to protest Prof. Chi’s passport confiscation and the authorities in HCMC were forced to return his passport. He is now in the U.S. with his relatives.
Dr. Pham Chi Dung, president of the unregistered Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam and Le Thu Ha, member of the Brotherhood of Democracy, are among numerous activists whose passports were illegally confiscated by Vietnam’s security forces.
Press Release: Communist Gov’t in Vietnam Systematically Suppresses Vietnam United Buddhist Delegation
On the occasion of 40th anniversary of Saigon falling to communists, the Radio of Free Asia covered a series titled “40 Year Memory” to review social life. The radio has three programs to describe the communist suppression against the Vietnam United Buddhist Delegation.
According to the reports, Vietnamese Buddhist followers have been suppressed systematically, and Vietnamese authorities have forced followers to hang Ho Chi Minh portrait in their house, requested monks to give up their religious affairs, brought them to Cambodia, banned to hang Buddhist flag, and seized religious properties as well sent tens of thousands of monks and followers to rehabitation facilities.
Under communist regime, numerous Buddhist monks and followers have been imprisoned.
An Giang Police Harass Hoa Hao Followers on Sect’s Anniversary of Establishment
On July 3 (or May 18 of Lunar Calendar), many Hoa Hao Buddhist gathered in the private house of Nguyen Van Vinh in Long Giang commune, Cho Moi district, An Giang province to mark the establishment anniversary of the sect.
However, local police with support of militia and hired thugs suppressed the followers, not allowing them to pray.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Committee on Freedom of Religions asked the government of President Barack Obama to put Vietnam in the list of country of particular concerns (CPC).
Activist Do Nam Hai of Bloc 8406 Harassed by HCM City Police
Engineer Do Nam Hai, a member of pro-democracy Bloc 8406, has been closely followed by security agents in Ho Chi Minh City.
The moves came in response to his interview given to a U.S.-based radio on the situation of Vietnam’s human rights and the local democratic campaign.
Mr. Hai and Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly are leaders of the bloc which was set up on April 8, 2006.
The White House Meets with Vietnamese Human Rights Activists ahead of Visit of Communist Leader
On July 1, the U.S. National Security Council invited representatives of Vietnamese organizations in the U.S. to meet with senior officials of the council and the Department of State in the White House.
During the meeting, the Vietnamese American representatives said the democratization in Vietnam is the important factor for the U.S.’s pivot to Asia.
They reported Vietnam’s human rights violations as well as the communist government’s violations of the workers’ right to form independent trade union.