US raises concern over convictions of rights advocates in Vietnam


Kanishka Singh - Reuters | April 1, 2024

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Monday raised concerns about convictions of rights advocates in Vietnam, including five since January, and called on the country's government to respect freedom of expression, association, and religion.


Advocates have raised alarm over the human rights situation in Vietnam and urged the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to raise such concerns in their diplomacy with the country.

The Human Rights Watch said in March that Vietnam held at least 163 political prisoners and that the Vietnamese government was engaging in a crackdown against bloggers, rights campaigners, and activists. Vietnam's government denies committing rights abuses.


"We are particularly troubled by the recent 13-year sentence of Y Krec Bya, who has been a peaceful voice for freedom of religion or belief in Vietnam," the State Department said in a statement.

"We also continue to be concerned by the multi-year prison terms of Nay Y Blang, Danh Minh Quang, Thach Cuong, and To Hoang Chuong for their peaceful advocacy on behalf of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, in Vietnam."

The State Department also called on Vietnam "to release all those unjustly detained."


Biden visited Vietnam last year and the White House said he raised rights concerns.

However, advocates have accused the Biden administration of sidelining rights issues when it comes to dealings with Asian partners like Vietnam and India, with whom Washington holds important strategic ties that analysts say aim at countering the influence of China in the region.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Editing by Louise Heavens)




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