Boat People SOS
Human rights conditions in Vietnam have significantly deteriorated.
The U.S. House of Representatives
Political crackdown has steadfastly escalated in Vietnam since 2007. With Burma initiating important reforms, Vietnam now stands as the worst violator of human rights and worst enemy of democracy in Southeast Asia.
At a recent hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, testifying U.S. State Department officials expressed concern over Vietnam’s “backsliding” on human rights.
The list of Vietnamese political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience is getting longer, including those honored by the White House, our State Department or respectable international organizations.
On International Women’s Day of this year the First Lady and Secretary of State John Kerry jointly honored blogger Ta Phong Tan as a woman of courage. She started a blog called Truth and Justice to expose corruption in the Vietnamese legal system. She was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Last year the US State Department highlighted Dieu Cay’s courage, making his case the first in a series of profiles of bloggers and journalists honored on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. Speaking on that occasion, you specifically called on the international community to not forget blogger Dieu Cay. He has been on hunger strike since June 23 to protest solitary confinement, which amounts to torture. He is serving a 12-years sentence, which was added to a prior sentence of two and a half years.
Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, a constitutional scholar and leading dissident who fought for environmental justice and the rights of indigenous peoples, is serving a seven-years sentence. In August 2011, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found Dr. Vu’s deprivation of liberty to be “arbitrary” and in contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Viet Nam is a party. In late May, he started a 25-day hunger strike to protest inhumane prison conditions.
Hundreds of champions who fought for religious freedom, labor rights, and social justice are languishing in Vietnamese prisons.
In light of this on-going political crackdown, we urge our members of Congress to support human rights in Vietnam: Please vote for the Vietnam Human Rights Act, HR 1897.