Association for Support of Victims of Torture Debuts in Saigon, Vowing to Bring CAT to Real Life
By Defend the Defenders
November 11, 2016
A group of Vietnamese activists on November 7 declared the establishment of the Association for Support of Victims of Torture in a bid to bring the light of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) to the real life of the nation.
According to the Mobilization Board for the Establishment of the Association for Support of Victims of Torture, Vietnam signed the Convention Against Torture in 2013 and formally ratified this convention in 2015. However, there is big gap between the law and its enforcement.
Torture is still a big issue in the communist-ruled Vietnam and numerous ordinary people, human rights defenders, social activists and political dissidents have been tortured by the police forces.
As a civil organization, the Association for Support of Victims of Torture will strive to monitor and support the implementation of the CAT, it said on the public statement.
Among founding members are medical doctor Dinh Duc Long and Nguyen Trang Nhung who obtained master degree on banking and finance in Singapore after graduated the Law University in Ho Chi Minh City.
Last year, the New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report saying police torture is systemic in Vietnam but few of perpetrators have been punished.
According to Vietnamís Ministry of Public Security, there were 226 deaths in police custody between October 2011 and September 2014. Police said illness and suicides were the main reasons for their deaths while their families and human rights defenders blamed police torture and ill-treatment for causing their deaths.
Dozens of people have been killed and tortured in police stations nationwide since the beginning of 2015. Many people have been brutally beaten by police for minor faults.
State media has reported a number of victims of legal miscarriage as their sentences were based on coercion as result of police torture. The victims of legal miscarriage included Mr. Huynh Van Nen from the central province of Binh Thuan, Luong Ngoc Phi from the northern province of Thai Binh, and Nguyen Thanh Chan from the northern province of Bac Giang.
Mr. Nen and Mr. Chan were wrongly convicted in murder cases. They were freed after spending over ten years in prison, and received respective compensations of billions of dong.
They said they were tortured by police investigators in the two murder cases in which the real killers confessed themselves after years of hiding.