Vietnam Human Rights Network

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Testimony of the Vietnam Human Rights Network on

Vietnamese from All over The World Support Workers in Vietnam

 

 

Submitted to the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee; The Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations Subcommittee – The House International Relations Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

 

Hearing On “The Human Rights Dialogue with Vietnam: Is Vietnam Making Significant Progress ?”

March 29, 2006

Rayburn House Office Bldg, Room 2172

The U.S. Congress

 

 

Sub-Committee Chairmen and Members:

 

Since the end of 2005, hundreds of thousands of workers in Vietnam have gone on strike. In the beginning, strikes took place only at cities in South Vietnam such as Saigon, Gia Dinh, Bien Hoa, Binh Duong, Can Tho, and My Tho. As time went by, they spread to provinces in Central Vietnam such as Ninh Thuan, Quang Nam and eventually to many areas in North Vietnam like Hai Phong, Quang Ninh etc. 

According to Mr. Le Minh Nguyen, Chairman of the Vietnam Human Rights Network, this is the breaking point for the workers who have lived between the rocks and the hard places for so long, where their rights have been blatantly violated. Although Vietnam's 1992 Constitution states that the Vietnamese Communist Party was the vanguard of the working class and the faithful representative of workers' interests. But, in reality workers suffer inhuman and unfair treatment and severe exploitation under the Vietnamese Communist Regime. 

 

Despite threats and prohibitions by the government, the strike movement has become widespread. While hundreds of workers who were arrested because of their parts in the strikes could not be accounted for, and whose fate is uncertain, Mr. Tran Duc Luong, president of Vietnam, dutifully sent apologies to the investors from Taiwan and Japan instead of standing up for the exploited workers. 

Facing with this unjust and deplorable situation, the Vietnam Human Rights Network, along with 32 human rights and democracy activists residing in Vietnam and 57 overseas human rights, cultural organizations and the Vietnamese communities worldwide have signed the Statement supporting the peaceful and legitimate strikes of the workers in Vietnam. 

Attached herewith is the Statement made on the 24th of March 2006.  

 

*** 

 

STATEMENT ON VIETNAMESE WORKERS’ RIGHTS 

 

For over four months, since the end or 2005, an unprecedented crisis has spread throughout Vietnam: Hundreds of thousands of workers have gone on strike to demand pay increase, improvement of working condition and an end to exploitation and inhuman and brutal treatment. These strikes first took place at Gia Dinh, Bien Hoa, Binh Duong, Can Tho, My tho and Bac Lieu provinces in South Vietnam, then at Central Vietnam's provinces such as Ninh Thuan and Quang Nam and eventually spread to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh etc. in North Vietnam. 

 

Vietnam's 1992 Constitution states that the Vietnamese Communist Party is the vanguard of the working class and the faithful representative of workers' interests. But, in reality workers suffer inhuman and degrading treatment and severe exploitation under the Vietnamese Communist Regime. 

 

Case in point: After the Foreign Investment Law took effect in 1989, the minimum wage was established at VN$625,950.00, equivalent to US$45.00 at the exchange rate of VN$13,910.00 per US dollar. It has been 18 years since, but the minimum wage still remains as it was while the exchange rate increased to over VN$15,900.00 per US dollar and food price has increased 40% due to inflation. With such a low wage workers, more often than not, have had to work 10 hours a day, and at times on Sunday and holidays without extra pay. In addition to unsafe environment, workers are subjected to scolding, beating; forced to stand under scorching sun, pay cuts or to endure blatant violation of human rights. Most workers do not have health and social insurance. 

 

At present, the Vietnamese Communist Government does not allow the formation of independent labor unions. The only existing labor organization is the government- sanctioned Vietnam Federation of Labour which, in reality, is the Communist Party's tool to monitor and control workers' activities, not to defend and fight for their interests. Not only that, at many places authorities and local Vietnam Federation of Labour collaborate with foreign investors to suppress workers, putting them between the rocks and the hard places. The one to be critically blamed for all of these is the President of Vietnam, Mr. Tran Duc Luong, who instead of defending the rights of the exploited workers, has sent apologies to investors from Taiwan and Japan! 

 

Facing with this unfair and heart-wrenching situation, we, the undersigned solemnly:  

1.    Support the peaceful, nonviolent strikes by the Vietnamese workers.

2.    Welcome the March 19, 2006 call for support of the on-strike workers by 22 human rights and democracy activists inside Vietnam.

3.    Demand the Vietnamese Communist Government to:

a.    Immediately and unconditionally release all the workers who were arrested because of their participation in the strikes,

b.    Promptly change labor laws concordantly to international standards relating to workers' protection, minimum wage that reflects the economic condition and cost of living, reasonable social and health insurance and retirement benefits.

c.    Respect human rights, especially the workers' rights to form independent labor unions in order to defend and protect their legitimate interests.

4.    Request privately owned and state-owned enterprises to respect international labor codes and standard practices, to humanly and justly treat as well as respect the dignity of their employees.

5.    Request the UN's International Labor Organization (ILO) to actively assist the Vietnamese workers in their efforts to organize independent labor unions.

 

Simultaneously circulated in Vietnam and oversea on the 24th of March, 2006

 

 

Human Rights & Democracy Activists in Vietnam

 

1.     Rev. Nguyen Cao Loc, Hue

2.     Le Quang Liem, Hoa Hao Buddhist Congregation of Vietnam

 3.     Rev. Chan Tin, Catholic Church, Saigon

4.     Prof. Hoang Minh Chinh, Hanoi

5.     Rev. Le Van Cao, Catholic Church, Thua Thien

6.     Hoang Tien, writer, Hanoi

7.     Rev. Ho Van Quy, Catholic Church, Quang Tri

8.     Prof. Tran Khue

9.     Rev. Nguyen Huu Giai, Catholic Church, Thua Thien

10.   Pham Que Duong, Hanoi

11.   Rev. Hoang Can, Catholic Church, Thua Thien

12.   Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang, Menonite Church, Saigon

13.   Rev. Nguyen Van Hung, Catholic Church, Thua Thien

14.   Ven. Nguyen Van Tho, Hoa Hao Buddhist Church, Dong Thap

15.   Rev. Le Van Nghiem, Catholic Church, Thua Thien

16.   Ven. Le Van Sach, Hoa Hao Buddhist Church, Vinh Long

17.   Rev. Nguyen Van Ly, Catholic Church, Hue

18.   Prof. Nguyen Chinh Ket, Saigon

19.   Rev. Cai Hong Phuong, Catholic Church, Hue

20.   Phuong Nam Do Nam Hai,  Saigon

21.   Rev. Phan Phuoc, Thua Thien

22.   Nguyen Khac Toan, Hanoi

23.   Rev. Tong Thanh Trong, Thua Thien

24.   Nguyen Binh Thanh, Hue

25.   Rev. Phan Van Loi, Catholic Church, Hue

26.   Le Le Hang, Hue

27.   Rev. Le Ngoc Buu, Catholic Church, Hue

28.   Tran Kim Lien, Quang Binh

29.   Rev. Tran Van Quy, Catholic Church in Phu Cam, Hue

30.   Vu Thuy Ha, Hanoi

31.   Rev. Ngo Thanh Son, Catholic Church, Thua Thien

32.   Bui Kim Ngan, Hanoi

33.   Tran Anh Kim, Thai Binh

 

 

Human Rights, Religious, Cultural Organizations & Vietnamese Communities Overseas

 

  1. Le Minh Nguyen and Nguyen Thanh Trang, Vietnam Human Rights Network

  2. Le Quang Dat, Overseas Vietnamese Buddhist Youth Congregation, Southern California

  3. Tran Van Gioi, Republic of Vietnam Veterans Association, Connecticut, USA

  4. Dr. Lam Thu Van. Center of Democracy for Vietnam, Montreal, Canada

  5. Do Nhu Dien, The Vietnamese Laity Movement in the Diaspora, San Diego, USA

  6. Le Cong Nghiep, Vietnamese Federation of San Diego, San Diego, USA

  7. Trinh Ngoc Anh, Radio Hoa Mai, California, USA

  8. Nguyen Hong Lien, Council for Human Rights in Vietnam, New York, USA

  9. Bui Hong Quynh, Youth Club for Huamn Rights, Sacramento, California, USA

  10. Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan, International Committee for Freedom, Virginia, USA

  11. Ho Minh Chau, Hoa Hao Buddhist Church in Europe, Paris, France

  12. Dr. Phan Van Song, Protestant Church, Southern Central Region, France

  13. Nguyen Phuc Tung, Vietnamese Association of Val de Marne, France

  14. Prof. Nguyen Thanh Van, Paris, France

  15. Dr. Nguyen Van Tran, Paris, France

  16. Tran Tu Thanh, Vietnam Helsinki, Washington, D.C., USA

  17. Nguyen Van Tan, Vietnamese Community of Maryland, Virginia & Washington, D.C.

  18. Rev. Nguyen Huu Le, Catholic Church of New Zealand

  19. Thai Hoa To, Vietnamese Community of Dallas, Texas, USA

  20. Dr. Nguyen Manh Tien and Doan Viet Trung, Vietnamese Community of Australia

  21. Pham Ngoc Cuu, Vietnamese Community of Central Florida, USA

  22. Nguyen Van Chinh, Vietnamese Community of Wichita, Kansas, USA

  23. Nguyen Khac Vinh, Vietnamese Community of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA

  24. Huynh Luong Thien, Vietnamese Artists Movement, San Francisco, California, USA

  25. Nguyen Xuan Hung, Vietnamese Community of Forth Worth, Texas, USA

  26. Nguyen Minh Can, writer, Moscow, Russia

  27. Bui Lan Huong, AKA reporter Hoang Dung, Moscow, Russia

  28. Attorney Dao Tang Duc, Vietnamese Federation for Democracy, Australia

  29. Nguyen Van Tanh, Vietnamese Community of New York, New York, USA

  30. Tran Anh Tuyet, Seattle, Washington, USA

  31. Vu Thu Hien, writer, Paris, France

  32. Bui Tin, reporter, Paris, France

  33. Nguyen Ngoc & Le Nhan Quyen, Vietnamese League for Human Rights, Swisszerland

  34. Nguyen Hoang Bao Viet, CEVEX – Swisszerland

  35. Dr. au Duong The, Federation of Democracy and Development for Vietnam, Germany

  36. Ngo Thi Hien, Committee for Religious Freedom of Vietnam, Maryland, USA

  37. Jackie Bong Wright, Vietnamese American League of Voters, Virginia, USA

  38. Chu Ba Yen, Florida Viet Bao monthly magazine, Florida, USA

  39. Most Venerable Thich Chon Thanh, Vietnamese Buddhist leader, California, USA

  40. Dr. Lam Le Trinh, Human Rights Quarterly Review, Huntington Beach, California

  41. Nguyen Trong Can, Vietnamese Community of San Antonio, Texas, USA

  42. Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet, Vietnamese Community of Southern California, USA

  43. Tang Phuoc Trong, Vietnamese Community of Washington State, USA

  44. Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Vietnamese Community of Arizona State, USA

  45. Nguyen Chi Thien & Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, Vietnam Human Rights Network, California

  46. Prof. Nguyen Ngoc Bich, National Congress of Vietnamese in America

  47. Dr. Ma Xai, Hoa Hao Buddhist Church of Florida, Florida, USA

  48. Mac Hong Quang & Tran Manh, Vietnamese Community in America

  49. Phan Van Dao, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia, USA

  50. Doan Lien Tho, Vietnamese American League of Voters, Pennsylvania, USA

  51. Prof. Doan Viet Hoat, Catholic University, Washington, D.C., USA

  52. Prof. Nguyen Quoc Khai, Vietnam Review, Inc., Maryland, USA

  53. Le Minh Khoi, Movement of Young Democrats, Toronto, Canada

  54. Tran minh Xuan, Mekong Publishing House, California, USA

  55. Truong The Lai & Nguyen Van Tiet, Alumni Association of the Institute of National Administration, Toronto, Canada

  56. Dr. Do Van Hoi, International Movement for Religious Freedom in Vietnam, Florida, USA

  57. Pham Hoang, Center of Democracy for Vietnam and Canh En magazine

  58. Rev. Dinh Xuan Long, Catholic Church of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

  59. Nguyen Cong Bang, People’s Party, California, USA

  60. Khuong Tu Dan, Carolina, USA

  61. Tran Minh Thanh, Vietnam Human Rights Committee, Toronto, Canada

  62. Nguyen Viet Ninh, Montreal, Canada

  63. Lam Thien Huong, Vietnamese Community of Connecticut, USA

  

Local contact: Khai Q. Nguyen, Vice chairman, Vietnam Human Rights Network, (301) 840-5764, E-mail: Khaiqnguyen@aol.com.

  

 
 

 


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