Hanoi-based Human Rights Defenders Blocked from Attending RSF’s Meeting in Paris
Defend the Defenders
September 26, 2016
Security forces in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi on September 26 barred a local human rights defender from going to Paris where he is invited to attend a meeting of Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontičres or RSF).
Mr. Vu Quoc Ngu, chief executive officer of non-profit Defend the Defenders, said he was stopped by security officers at the Noi Bai International Airport on his way to Bangkok on the longer way to the French capital city.
The blockage was based on national security reason according to Decree 136 of the government, the security officers at the border gate said, adding the ban was issued by Hanoi city’s Department of Police.
This is the second blockage for Mr. Ngu’s international travel within the past two year. In July 2015, Mr. Ngu, who is co-president of the Vietnam Independent Civil Society Organizations Network (VICSON), was also not allowed to go to Bangkok where he was invited to attend a train course on cyber security organized by RSF.
Recently, Mr. Ngu has been blocked from meeting with a number of foreign diplomats. In mid-May, together with many members of the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), he was not permitted to participate in a meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, who visited the communist nation to prepare for the visit of President Barack Obama to the Southeast Asian nation on May 23-25.
Ngu, who attended many anti-China demonstrations in Hanoi in the 2011-2016 period, has also been place under de facto house arrest during weekends when activists in Hanoi gathered in the city’s center to protest the Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group which illegally discharged a huge volume of toxic industrial waste from its steel plant in Hanoi which caused the environmental catastrophe in the central coastal region killing hundreds of tons of fish there.
Meanwhile, the Defend the Defenders is the leading human rights organization striving to report key human rights violations in Vietnam while VICSON is a young organization fighting for freedom of assembly in the Southeast Asian nation.
In addition to imprisonments, harassments and persecution against local activists, Vietnam has also barred them from international trips. Over a hundred of political dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders have been stopped at border gates when they were on their ways to leave the country for international conferences, seminars or trips with tourism purposes.
Many other activists have had their application for passport refused or had passports confiscated.