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Human Rights Organizations Ask the President to Raise the Issues of Human Rights Violations during His Upcoming Meetings with the Vietnamese Authorities.

America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.”
— Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World - Feb 04, 2021
WESTMINSTER, CALIFORNIA, USA, September 1, 2023/ -- Ahead of President Biden’s first visit to Vietnam scheduled on September 10, 2023, human rights activist organizations urge him to address human rights with Vietnamese authorities during their upcoming meetings.

In a joint open letter, the Vietnam Human Rights Network, Defend the Defenders, the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam, and the Vietnam Political and Religious Prisoners Friendship Association acknowledge that the primary purpose of the visit is to elevate the US-Vietnam relationship from a comprehensive partnership to a strategic one, as reported by the media. The upgrade would represent a milestone in the relationship between Hanoi and Washington and could play a vital role in the U.S. Security Strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, with confidence in the Biden-Harris administration’s diplomacy that is “rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity,” the organizations ask the President to raise the issues of human rights violation during his upcoming discussions with the Vietnamese government’s officials.

The open letter pointed out that Vietnam’s human rights record has worsened. In recent years, Vietnamese authorities have increased their repression and imprisonment of dissidents. All prisoners of conscience have been arbitrarily detained for fabricated charges under the National Security section of the Penal Code and tried by an unjust justice system. During their detention, prisoners of conscience are treated inhumanely.

Vietnam continues to repress, control, and violate the right to freedom of religion by outlawing large and orthodox religious organizations that are not under the control of the Communist Party, criminalizing religious activities, preventing gatherings for religious activities, obstructing the freedom of movement of pastoral peoples, infringing on religious organizations’ properties, and forcing renunciation of religious belief.

The Vietnamese government claims to protect the environment and has received billions of U.S. dollars of foreign aid for environmental improvements and pollution prevention; however, many eminent ecological activists, such as former Goldenman Prize laureate Nguy Thi Khanh, Dang Dinh Bach, Hoang Thi Minh Hong, Mai Phan Loi, and Bach Hong Duong, were arrested on fabricated charges of “tax evasion” and sentenced to several years in prison.

The letter co-signatories call on President Biden to encourage and persuade the Vietnamese government to take steps to improve the human rights situation, pressuring them to stop repressing dissidents and activists, free all prisoners of conscience, abolish all forms of restriction on the freedom to practice religion and cease to interfere in the internal affairs of religions.

Tung B. Nguyen, DPA
Vietnam Human Rights Network
+1 714-657-9488
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