(English translation provided by BPSOS)
Dear compatriots in Vietnam and other countries,
Dear supporters in democratic countries,
Freedom of conscience is a basic human right, along with the other human rights such as freedom of thought, freedom of religion and belief, and freedom of expression. Following one’s conscience means living a life guided by ethics, love, justice and truth. Acting based on one’s conscience is engaging in activities aimed at bringing happiness to one’s society, especially to victims whose human rights are being violated. In Vietnam many have been put in prison simply for peacefully exercising their human rights. Amnesty International has classified such prisoners as prisoners of conscience.
We, the undersigned, are former Vietnamese prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned or subjected to other forms of detention for our activities in support of democracy and our people’s rights, including the right to property ownership, right to work, and environmental justice.
In the face of rampant injustice and oppression, and realizing the pressing need to give a voice to our conscience, we resolved to come together as a civil society organization that will stand next to many other independent civil society organizations. As members of this new organization, we will continue to follow our conscience in advocating freedom, democracy, human rights, and freedom of religion and belief in Vietnam.
We hereby announce the establishment of the Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience:
The Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience will press for a legality centered on valuing human dignity, maximizing freedom, and building democracy to international standards such as those expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on Political and Civil Rights, and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience will strive for a Vietnam whose prison system no longer holds a single prisoner of conscience, follows international standards for the humane treatment of detainees, and demonstrably turns detainees into better and more useful members of their families and society at large.
The Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience will strive for a country and society that becomes truly dear to our people; where citizens are the masters and the government is their servant; and the Constitution and law codes truly represent the people’s will.
We strongly urge the Vietnamese government to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience. These prisoners must be treated humanely, and human rights organizations based in Vietnam and overseas should be allowed to monitor their prison conditions.
This statement was issued in Vietnam on February 18, 2014.
Signatures of founding members, former prisoners of conscience.
LIST OF THE 64 FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FORMER VIETNAMESE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
Posted on February 18, 2014 by FVPoC in CTNLT // 0 Comments
Collectively, the 64 members account for 278 years of detention, 9 years of suspended sentence, and 79 years of probation.
1. Bùi Thị Minh Hằng, 6-month re-education (2011)
2. Chu Mạnh Sơn, 30-month detention, 1-year probation (2011)
3. Dương Thị Tân, 2-year suspended sentence (2008)
4. Đinh Đăng Định, 4-year detention (2010)
5. Đinh Nhật Uy, 6-month detention, 1-year suspended sentence
6. Đoàn Văn Diên, 5-year suspended sentence (2006)
7. Huỳnh Ngọc Tuấn, 10-year detention (1992)
8. Hứa Phi, 1-month detention, 2-year probation (1980)
9. Lê Công Định, 3.5-year detention, 3-year probation (2009)
10. Lê Minh Triết, 7-year detention (1995)
11. Lê Nguyên Sang, 4-year detention, 2-year probation (2006)
12. Lê Thị Công Nhân, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2007)
13. Lê Thị Ngọc Đa, 2.5-year detention (2011).
14. Lê Văn Sóc, 6.5-year detention (2006)
15. Ngô Quỳnh, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2008)
16. Nguyễn Bá Đăng, 3-year detention (2010)
17. Nguyễn Đan Quế, 20-year detention (1978).
18. Nguyễn Đặng Vĩnh Phúc, 18-month detention, 3-year
suspended sentence, 3-year probation (2011)
19. Nguyễn Hồng Quang, 7-year detention (1985).
20. Nguyễn Hữu Giải, 5-year detention (1983).
21. Nguyễn Khắc Toàn, 4-year detention, 3-year probation (2002).
22. Nguyễn Mạnh Sơn, 3.5-year detention, 3-year probation (2008).
23. Nguyễn Ngọc Tường Thi, 2-year detention (2010).
24. Nguyễn Ngọc Hà, 4- year detention (2005).
25. Nguyễn Phương Uyên, 10-month detention, 3-year suspended
sentence, 3-year probation (2012).
26. Nguyễn Thanh Giang, 3-month detention (1999).
27. Nguyễn Thanh Phong, 6-year detention (2005).
28. Nguyễn Thị Yến, 3-month detention (1995).
29. Nguyễn Trung Lĩnh, 1-year detention (2011).
30. Nguyễn Trung Tôn, 2-year detention, 2-year probation (2011).
31. Nguyễn Văn Đài, 4-year detention, 4-year probation (2007).
32. Nguyễn Văn Điền, 7-year detention (2005).
33. Nguyễn Văn Ngọc, 4-year detention, 2-year probation (2007)
34. Nguyễn Văn Thơ, 6-year detention (2006).
35. Nguyễn Văn Thùy, 5-year detention (2006).
36. Nguyễn Văn Túc, 4-year detention, 4-year probation (2008)
37. Nguyễn Vũ Bình, 5-year detention, 3-year probation (2002)
38. Nguyễn Xuân Anh, 2-year detention, 3-year probation (2011)
39. Nguyễn Xuân Tụ (Hà Sĩ Phu), 1-year detention (1995)
40. Phạm Bá Hải, 5-year detention, 2-year probation (2006).
41. Phạm Chí Dũng, 6-month detention (2012).
42. Phạm Minh Hoàng,17-month detention, 3-year probation
43. Phạm Ngọc Thạch, 2-year detention (2004)
44. Phạm Quế Dương, 19-month detention (2002)
45. Phạm Thanh Nghiên, 4-year detention, 3-year probation (2008)
46. Phạm Văn Trội, 4-year detention 3-year probation (2007)
47. Phan Thanh Hải, 3-year detention, 2-year probation (2009)
48. Phan Thị Tiềm, 2-year detention (2001)
49. Phan Văn Lợi, 7-year detention (1981)
50. Thích Không Tánh, 16-year detention, 5-year probation (1977)
51. Thích Nhật Ban,18-year detention (1975)
52. Thích Thiện Minh, 26-year detention (1975)
53. Tô Văn Mãnh, 6-year detention (2005)
54. Trần Đức Thạch, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2008)
55. Trần Lệ Hồng, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2006)
56. Trần Khuê, 19-month detention (2002)
57. Trần Ngọc Anh,15-month detention (2009)
58. Trần Thị Hài, 9-month detention (2012)
59. Trần Thị Hoàng, 22-month detention (2010)
60. Trương Minh Nguyệt, 4-year detention, 2-year probation (2007)
61. Trương Thị Tám, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2009)
62. Trương Văn Kim, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2009)
63. Võ Văn Bửu, 7-year detention (2005)
64. Vũ Văn Hùng, 3-year detention, 3-year probation (2008)
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Anti-China protesters hoping to lay wreaths at a famous statue in the Vietnamese capital on Sunday were obstructed by an unusual sight of ballroom dancers and an energetic aerobics class held to a thumping sound system.
The demonstrators suspect the government deployed the dancers as a way to stop them from getting close to the statue and make their speeches inaudible. The few who tried to get close to the statue of Ly Thai To, the founder of Hanoi and a nationalist icon, were shooed away.
The protesters were marking the 35th anniversary of a bloody border war between China and Vietnam, where anger over Beijing’s increasingly assertive territorial claims on islands in the South China Sea that Hanoi insists belong to it is already running high.
Relations with China, Vietnam’s ideological ally and major trading partner, are a highly sensitive domestic political issue for Hanoi’s rulers. They don’t want anger on the street against China to spread to other areas of its repressive rule.
By Shawn Crispin
When Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Lan Thang left his home in Hanoi to report on the trial of a group of political activists charged with anti-state crimes, he switched off his mobile phone to avoid government surveillance of his movements. Despite taking that precaution, the police raided the hotel where he was staying in the northern city of Vinh a day before the court hearing. Thang videotaped the raid from his balcony and posted the footage on his personal blog just minutes before he was arrested.
The police justified his detention without charge on the grounds that he had traveled to Vinh at a “sensitive” time. He and two other bloggers he traveled with were held in police custody for three days and were released only after the verdict in the two-day trial was announced on January 9, 2013. Thang says he was beaten during interrogations and later strip-searched by police officials looking for hidden digital camera memory cards.
“I’m a focal point for police,” Thang told CPJ, adding that he has been detained and interrogated on “dozens” of occasions because of his blogging. “When there is a trial of activists or planned protests, they send plainclothes police to guard my house to make sure I don’t leave.” To dodge trailing officials, Thang said, he now leaves his house several days in advance of big news events and communicates only over foreign-hosted online platforms like Skype to avoid GPS tracking of his location.
For Immediate Release
February 10, 2014
Contact: Patrick Griffith
+1 (202) 223-3733
Washington, D.C.: Today, eleven members of the House of Representatives joined a public letter to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang calling for the release of three imprisoned labor rights activists. Among the signatories are Representatives Frank Wolf and James McGovern, the Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and Representative Chris Van Hollen, who adopted the case as part of the Commission’s Defending Freedoms Project.
Arrested in 2010, Do Thi Minh Hanh, Doan Huy Chuong, and Nguyen Quoc Hung are currently serving between seven and nine years in prison as a result of their activism on behalf of workers. The Vietnamese government arrested the trio after they attempted to organize striking workers at a shoe factory in My Phong and distributed leaflets with the workers’ demands. During the trial, the government denied Do, Doan, and Nguyen access to lawyers and prevented them from speaking in their own defense. All three have been beaten and forced to perform hard labor–Do in particular is deaf in one ear as a result of the beatings and is believed to be suffering from breast cancer.
In the letter, the Representatives condemn the “the considerable plight faced by independent labor activists in Vietnam,” noting that the imprisonment has already been found by the United Nations to violate international law. They close by stating that “For there to be any enhanced engagement between the United States and Vietnam—including expanded trade ties—Vietnam must address such cases,” and urge President Sang to “facilitate the immediate release” of the activists.
“While these activists are just three of many prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, their case is especially important as Vietnam and the U.S. negotiate a trade deal that reportedly includes labor protections,” said Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner.
By NANAE KURASHIGE/ Correspondent
BEIJING–China is laying out plans to define another new air defense identification zone, but this time in the South China Sea, sources said, which could further escalate tensions in the region.
The disclosure is sure to provoke Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, all of whom claim sovereignty over parts or all of the disputed territory, which includes hundreds of islands, cays, shoals and reefs.
The move comes on the heels of China’s announcement in November of its new ADIZ in the East China Sea, which drew angry reactions from Japan, the United States and South Korea.
The area is also believed to have more exploitable natural resources than the East China Sea.
“Gaining the upper hand in the air is a requisite for gaining the upper hand in the sea,” said one military analyst. “An ADIZ is of vital importance for making maritime advances.”