Tag Archives: Vietnam
September 19, 2019
One-quarter of U.N. member states have carried out suspected reprisals against activists who cooperate with the world body on human rights issues, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.
China, Egypt, Iran, and Vietnam were among states named in his annual report who rejected the allegations during a two-hour debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council.
“Acts of serious cruelty have continuously been reported against those who dare to come to the UN or share information with us – incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment, prolonged solitary confinement, and even deaths in custody,” Andrew Gilmour, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, told the Geneva forum in presenting the report.
Their family members, legal representatives, and witnesses were also being targeted, he said.
In China, activists and lawyers reported having been “targeted for attending training sessions” or engaging with U.N. human rights instruments, the report said.
“Reprisals reportedly included detention and prison sentences, ill-treatment while in detention, seizure of property and surveillance,” it said.
It cited five cases including human rights lawyer Liu Zhengqing whom the government said in January had been disbarred on the grounds that his public defence statements had endangered national security.
March 27, 2019
December 22, 2018
(1) In the last years, the crackdown on freedom of expression has intensified. Reports indicate that in 2017, Viet Nam authorities have detained or exiled many peaceful activists and bloggers. Human rights lawyers who work on sensitive cases frequently face reprisals either in relation to their own human rights advocacy or their legal representation of people seen as critical of the Government. They are subjected to, amongst other things, threats, harassment and intimidation. Some lawyers have been the victim of physical attacks in connection to their legitimate advocacy. See Joint submission (JI) L4L & LRWC, par.10
A number of lawyers in Viet Nam have even been subjected to arrests and prosecution in connection to their professional activities or in relation to their human rights advocacy. See JI L4L & LRWC, par.11
(2) Governments must protect lawyers from unfair or arbitrary disciplinary proceedings. Disciplinary action against lawyers must be based solely on a code of professional conduct consistent with recognized ethical and professional standards including the Basic Principles and determined by an independent tribunal after a fair hearing conducted in accordance with international due process requirements. Before the UPR review of Viet Nam in 2014, several leading human rights lawyers had been disbarred, including lawyers Le Cong Dinh, Nguyen Van Dai, and Le Quoc Quan. More recently, other lawyers have been disbarred or are facing disbarment or other disciplinary actions on improper grounds. See JI L4L & LRWC, par.12
July 30, 2018
- Lawyers for Lawyers (“L4L”) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) jointly submit this report on the state of human rights in Viet Nam, especially in respect of the legal profession, with recommendations for the 32nd session of the UPR Working Group in the UN Human Rights Council in January-February 2019. This report was co-signed by Viet Tan.
- L4L is an independent and non-political Netherlands foundation, which was established in 1986 and is funded by lawyers’ donations. L4L promotes the proper functioning of the rule of law through the free and independent exercise of the legal profession around the world. L4L has special consultative status with ECOSOC since 2013.
- LRWC is a committee of Canadian lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote human rights and the rule of law through advocacy, education, and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
- This submission highlights key concerns regarding Viet Nam’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to guarantee the right to independent counsel as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers  (“Basic Principles”) and other international human rights instruments, focusing the lack of effective guarantees for the functioning of lawyers, including the lack of freedom of expression and association of lawyers. Non-compliance with the Basic Principles undermines the proper functioning of the judicial system, in particular the right to fair trial and effective access to justice.
June 10, 2018
90 NGOs including LRWC call on the EU to reject the proposed free trade agreement until Viet Nam releases all political prisoner, including Nguyen Van Dai, and ensures rights to expression and association.
June 6, 2018
- The Council of the European Union
- The Members of the European Parliament
We, the undersigned organizations, urge European Union member countries to reject the pending free trade agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
After the European Parliament’s emergency resolution on Vietnam last December, it would be a disgrace if European countries were to ratify free trade with a country that is one of the world’s worst enemies of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. Over the last year, the Vietnamese authorities have arbitrarily detained scores of peaceful activists and bloggers. Just in April 2018, the Vietnamese authorities conducted five political trials and sentenced ten courageous human rights defenders and bloggers to harsh prison sentences of up to 15 years in prison for peacefully exercising rights to freedom of expression and association. In prison, torture and mistreatment are routinely used to extract confessions and force detainees to plead guilty. It is not unusual for prison officials to deny detained activists appropriate medical treatment.
The European External Action Service condemned the 5 April 2018 conviction and sentencing of Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thu Ha, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Truong Minh Duc, stating these individuals “have peacefully advocated the promotion and protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Their sentences are in direct breach of these international obligations, which Vietnam has itself signed up to, and which the European Union expects full respect for.”
June 7, 2018
Prominent Vietnamese rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and a fellow member of the Brotherhood for Democracy were released from prison late on Thursday and put on a plane from Hanoi to Germany, members of his banned group and an exile pro-democracy group said.
The release and exile of Dai and colleague Le Thu Ha came about two months after they and four other activists were given lengthy jail sentences for conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the state under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
Dai was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of house arrest on April 5, while Ha was sentenced to nine years imprisonment.
According to Viet Tan, an unsanctioned Vietnamese pro-democracy party, Dai, Ha, and Dai’s wife, Vu Minh Khanh, will arrive in Frankfurt Friday morning on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Hanoi.
There was no immediate confirmation of the release from the Vietnamese government or state media, but fellow members of the Brotherhood for Democracy in Vietnam confirmed to RFA’s Vietnamese service that the pair were released and exiled.
“We are heartened that Nguyen Van Dai does not have to endure more years of prison,” said Duy Hoang, spokesperson for Viet Tan.
“However his and other members of the (Brotherhood for Democracy’s) imprisonment by the Vietnamese authorities was arbitrary and illegal in the first place. Nguyen Van Dai should be able to return to Vietnam as a free person at the time of his choosing,” added Hoang.
May 24, 2018
Vietnamese human rights lawyer Vo An Don has been stripped of his license to practice law in a ruling received on Thursday from the national Vietnam Bar Association, Don told RFA’s Vietnamese Service today.
The decision upheld a ruling made last year by the local Phu Yen Lawyers’ Association striking his name from its lists for posting a comment on his Facebook page saying lawyers in Vietnam regularly use payoffs to win cases for their clients.
Don, a lawyer based in Vietnam’s coastal Phu Yen province, has defended defendants in high-profile cases including blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as Mother Mushroom, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June 2017 for “spreading propaganda against the state.”
Speaking to RFA, Don said that the decision made against him at the national level followed moves made locally last year.
“On November 26, the Phu Yen Lawyers’ Association issued the decision to punish me by removing my name from the association,” Don said.
“I filed a complaint with the Vietnam Bar Association, and after six months I got a response from them that upheld the Phu Yen Lawyers’ Association decision and said that the Ministry of Justice would revoke my license.”
Though he is now allowed to lodge an appeal with the Ministry of Justice in his case, Don said he feels nothing would result from this as he believes orders are coming down “from the top” to punish him for his work.
Another concern is that he can no longer open a law office, Don said.
April 5, 2018
Nguyen Van Dai, the Vietnamese human rights lawyer and activist, has been jailed for 15 years, according to his wife, along with five other activists who have been given prison terms of 7-12 years.
Dai, 48, was charged on Thursday in a court in Hanoi with activities “aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” at a tightly guarded trial in the communist country.
“I’m very disappointed with the trial and strongly protest it,” Vu Minh Khanh, Dai’s wife, said.
“He is innocent and he pleaded innocent at the trial. He will continue to fight and will appeal the verdict”.
But Le Thi Thu Hang, a foreign ministry spokesperson, said that “in Vietnam, there is no such thing as a ‘prisoner of conscience’, and there’s no such thing as people being arrested for ‘freely expressing opinion'”.
January 30, 2018
Vietnamese dissident and lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, founder of the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam, was taken into custody in December 2015 after leaving his Hanoi home to meet with European Union representatives who were researching human rights abuses in the one-party communist country. Authorities have extended Dai’s time in detention since then, and he remains behind bars without having been brought to trial. On Monday, Jan. 29, Dai’s wife Vu Minh Khanh visited her husband in prison, and later spoke to RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
Vu Minh Khanh: Yesterday, Jan. 29, we spoke for 30 minutes using phones and separated by glass. I am very worried about him because I know he is under a lot of stress after eight and a half months in the detention center. He is not allowed to tell me what sort of stress he is under, though. I just asked him if he was stressed, and he said, “Of course, it’s a prison. It goes without saying.”
At present my husband has many health problems of concern. First, he suffers from bone pain because he has to sleep on a cement block while the weather in Vietnam changes dramatically with the seasons. This winter especially has been very cold, while the upcoming spring is expected to be very wet. It is now as cold in his cell as it is outside, because there are two windows through which the wind comes in.
The prison is designed in an evil way to torture the prisoners.