VIETNAM HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK
12522 Brookhurst Street, Suite 23
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Tel.: (714) 636-8895; Fax: (270) 717-9764
April 22, 2005
Mr. Craig Mokhiber
New York Office
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York 10017
Dear Mr. Mokhiber:
On behalf of the Vietnam Human Rights Network, a consortium of Vietnamese human rights activists and committees world-wide, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of our serious concerns about human rights violations in Vietnam.
Under immense pressure from the international human rights organizations and freedom-loving nations, the Vietnamese communist government has released a few high profile prisoners of conscience along with more than 8 thousands other detainees. The international community has welcomed this development and perceived it as a positive action toward improvement of the overall human rights situation in Vietnam. However, this release represents only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of prisoners of conscience still remaining in prisons or under house arrests. Most of them are unknown to the world. Moreover, the released prisoners of conscience are always under strict surveillance and deprived of all their due rights, especially right to movement, speech and _expression.
Despite the recent high-profile prisoner releases, the Vietnamese government continues to arrest, imprison and torture ethnic minority Protestants in the Northwestern Provinces and Central Highlands. Members of the Mennonite Church have also come under fire in recent years. Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang was sentenced to jail and a Mennonite chapel was bulldozed to ground. The government continues to persecute the United Buddhist Church members. In 2003, four high ranking monks were sentenced without trial to two years of administrative detention.
The government of Vietnam continues to commit serious human rights abuses towards its citizens, especially democratic minded and freedom-loving youths. The following three are most recent typical cases:
1) Le Thi Hong Lien, 21 year old, is a teacher of the Mennonite Christian Church. She was arrested in June 2004 with some other people from the Church. On November 12, 2004 a court sentenced her to 12 months in prison. Amnesty International considered her as a prisoner of conscience. She was so brutally tortured by the prison guards that she was severely injured both physically and mentally;
2) Lan Anh, a reporter for “Youth” magazine, was recently prosecuted by the Ministry of Public Security for “appropriation of state confidential documents”. In a series of articles from October 2003 to May 2004, she detailed the practices of the Zuellig Parma Company in collaboration with corrupted officials in destabilizing the Vietnamese drug market; and
3) Do Nam Hai, pen name Phuong Nam, a bank professional, was detained and his computer confiscated in December 2004 for posting pro-democracy articles on the Internet. He was frequently harassed by local police, and fired from his job last month after he refused to cease his pro-democratic activities.
Given Hanoi’s wanton disregard for basic human rights stipulated in Vietnam’s Constitution and in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we suggest the following measures from the United Nations to ensure future human rights reform in Vietnam:
1) Demand the Government of Vietnam to immediately release all prisoners of conscience currently in jail or under house arrest; and
2) Hold Vietnam accountable for violations of the United Nations’ International Laws of Human Rights.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Tony T. Nguyen