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Aug-29-2012 21:33printcomments

Vietnam: Release Social Activists and Bloggers; Withdraw all Charges

The International Declaration of Human Rights establishes that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly; are guaranteed by the United Nations.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dungm Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dungm Socialist Republic of Vietnam

(SALEM) - Seventeen activists and bloggers are being held in Vietnam under deteriorating conditions without access to the most basic rights.

As William Gomes illustrates in his letter below, The International Declaration of Human Rights establishes that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, are guaranteed by the United Nations, which became active in the late 1940's after the Allies won World War Two. The original purpose of this gathering of nations was to enure that the demented tyranny of men like Adolf Hitler and the like would never be allowed to surface again.

The first thing evil dictators and political leaders inevitably do, is attack the personal liberties of citizens to restrict their resistance. U.S. President George W. Bush essentially did the same thing with 'Homeland Security' and a war in Iraq that left up to 1.5 million people dead over 'bad intelligence'. Vietnam, which has made much progress in recent years, needs to appreciate the humiliation they bring upon their own government with the persecution of people who disagree and free the 17 from custody.


Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Office of the State
1 Bach Thao
Hanoi, Vietnam

Re: Vietnam: Immediately release of 17 Vietnamese social activists and bloggers and the withdrawal of all charges

Dear Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I have been informed by Human Rights Watch that seventeen Vietnamese social activists, including bloggers and citizen journalists have been in jail for up to a year.

I came to know about the situation from a joint letter written by HRW and other human rights organizations requesting the Immediate Release of the 17 Vietnamese Social Activists and Bloggers.

I do agree on the with their demand; individually I add my voice to the concerns expressed in the letter.

Most have not even been brought to trial. These seventeen individuals have been arbitrarily detained because of their work as citizen journalists, environmental advocates, anti-corruption crusaders and human rights defenders.

Over the last year, the international human rights community has gotten to know their names: Dang Xuan Dieu, Ho Duc Hoa, Paulus Le Van Son, Nguyen Van Duyet, Nong Hung Anh, Nguyen Van Oai, Chu Manh Son, Dau Van Duong, Tran Huu Duc, Nguyen Xuan Anh, Ho Van Oanh, Thai Van Dung, Tran Minh Nhat, Ta Phong Tan, Tran Vu Anh Binh, Nguyen Dinh Cuong, and Hoang Phong.

These individuals have simply sought to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association guaranteed under international law. What they have in common is a passion for social justice, religious freedom, and involvement in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Unfortunately, they have been detained pursuant to vague, ill-defined statutes under the Vietnamese penal code: Article 79, which effectively restricts freedom of association and Article 88, which essentially limits freedom of speech. The recent petition filed by Stanford Law School’s Allen Weiner to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention argued very well that their continued detention violates international law.

On March 12, 2012 nine international NGOs (ACAT France, Access, ARTICLE 19, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Front Line Defenders, Index On Censorship, Media Defence South East Asia, Media Legal Defence Initiative, Southeast Asian Press Alliance) sent you a letter which called for their immediate release and access to legal counsel. Since then, the situation has not improved but rather worsened: Four of these activists have been unjustly sentenced to prison terms and the remainder are being held without access to a lawyer. Blogger Paulus Le Son was transferred to Hoa Lo jail in Hanoi which is known for its harsh prison conditions. Another citizen journalist, Dang Xuan Dieu, has not been allowed a single family visitation over the last year.

I respectfully remind you of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s obligations under international law to protect the rights of its citizens when it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

These rights are also protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which defines international law. Therefore, freedom of association, freedom of speech and the right to a fair trial are basic rights which should be protected under Vietnam’s legal system and not unjustifiably curtailed.

I believe Vietnam as a country would benefit from greater respect for the civil liberties of its citizens and Vietnamese society would be richer with the contributions of all its citizens. I urgently call on your government to withdraw all the charges against those who are held pending trial and for those who have been sentenced to be unconditionally exonerated.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
www.williamgomes.org


CC:

Christine Laroque, Asia Programs Manager, ACAT France
Brett Solomon, Executive Director, Access Now
Nguyen Ngoc, Associated Vietnamese Writers in Exile Centre
Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Kamila Shamsie, Writers at Risk Committee Co-Chair, English PEN
Mary Lawlor, Director, Front Line Defenders
Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
Rohan Jayasekera, Deputy CEO, Index on Censorship
H.R. Dipendra, Executive Director, Media Defence – Southeast Asia
Peter Noorlander, Executive Director, Media Legal Defence Initiative
Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Executive Director, Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Nguyen Le Nhan Quyen, Vietnamese League for Human Rights
ASEAN Chair, the Kingdom of Cambodia
Attn.: H.E. Samdech Hun Sen
Australian Embassy, Hanoi
Attn.: HE Mr. Hugh Borrowman
British Embassy, Hanoi
Attn.: Dr Antony Stokes
Embassy of Canada, Hanoi
Attn.: Her Excellency Deborah Chatsis
Embassy of France, Hanoi
Attn.: H.E Jean-François Girault
Royal Norwegian Embassy, Hanoi
Attn.: H.E. Ståle Torstein Risa
Embassy of Switzerland, Hanoi
Attn.: H.E Andrej Motyl
Embassy of the United States, Hanoi
Attn.: Ambassador David Shear
General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
Attn.: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton
United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
          Attn.: Assistant Secretary Michael Posner 

Donate to Support William's Human Rights Stories; donate through PayPal

Donate to: williamgomes.org@gmail.com

______________________________

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

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hcm August 30, 2012 2:02 pm (Pacific time)

Viet Communists use their own Jungle Law.

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