Monday, November 12, 2012
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention pronounced detention of Vietnamese pro-democracy activists a violation of international law
The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights submitted the case of the four activists to the UN Working Group in Geneva following their arbitrary condemnation in January 2010 at an unfair trial in Ho Chi Minh City to sentences ranging from five to sixteen years in prison followed by 3-5 years house arrest on charges of “subversion” (article 79 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code). The defendants, whose “crime” was to call peacefully for political reforms, all appealed against their sentence, except Nguyen Tien Trung (condemned to 7 years in prison). On 11 May 2010, the Ho Chi Minh City Appeals court upheld the sentences against human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh (5 years in prison) and Tran Huynh Duy Thuc (16 years in prison). The sentence of Le Thang Long was reduced from 5 to 3 ½ years in prison, and he was released in June 2012, six months before completing his sentence.
In March 2012, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights met with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and other “Special procedures” at the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, including the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Freedom of Religion or Belief and Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly to press for the release of a number of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists detained in Vietnam.
Following UN procedures, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention communicated this information to the Vietnamese government on 15 March 2012. In a letter dated 13 July 2012, Vietnam denied the allegations and claimed that the men were imprisoned because they had violated Vietnamese law. Meeting on 29 August to examine the case, the Working Group adopted Opinion 27/2012 and declared that the detention of the four men was “arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9, 19 and 21 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a party”.
In Opinion 27/2012, the UN Working Group rejected Vietnam’s claim that their detention was justified, since “even if the detention is in conformity with national legislation, the Working Group must ensure that it is also consistent with the relevant provisions of international law”.
The UN Working Group condemned the broad wording of certain provisions in Vietnam’s Criminal Code, such as “taking advantage of democratic freedoms and rights to abuse the interests of the State” (article 258), which is “so vague that it could result in penalties being imposed not only on persons using violence for political ends, but also on persons who have merely exercised their legitimate right to freedom of opinion or expression”.
The group found no evidence of the men’s involvement in violent activities to justify their conviction for “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” (article 79 of the Criminal Code), and stressed that “the holding and expressing of opinions, including those which are not in line with official Government policy, are protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.
In conclusion, the UN Working Group called on Vietnam “to release Le Cong Dinh, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Nguyen Tien Trung and Le Thanh Long and to accord them compensation in accordance with article 9, paragraph 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.
The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights welcomes Opinion 27/2012. The Committee has consistently denounced the vaguely-worded “national security” provisions in Vietnam’s Criminal Code since 1994, when the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention made a visit to Vietnam. The Committee reiterates the UN Working Group’s call for their release, as well as that of all others detained for the peaceful expression of legitimate political opinions or religious beliefs, such as bloggers Dieu Cay, Ta Phong Tan, Phan Thanh Hai and songwriters Viet Khang and Tran Vu Anh Binh, and UBCV leader Thich Quang Do who is under arbitrary detention without any justification or charge (UN Working Group Opinion 18/2005).
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Statement by Jean-François Julliard, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, on the occasion of the presentation by the Committee for the Rele
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Ahead of Hanoi visit, Hillary Clinton urged to raise cases of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to the government to ensure that the human rights activists, journalists and netizens who are in prison in Vietnam just for expressing their views are included in the amnesty for detainees that has been announced for Vietnam’s National Holiday on 2 September.
Vietnam needs to respect its undertakings to guarantee freedom of expression. The release of these human rights activists, journalists and bloggers would be seen a major conciliatory gesture.
Reporters Without Borders would like to draw the government’s attention to the following 18 detainees: three journalists (Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, Truong Minh Duc and Nguyen Van Ly) and 15 netizens (Nguyen Van Tinh, Nguyen Manh Son, Nguyen Van Tuc, Ngo Quynh, Nguyen Kim Nhan, Pham Van Troi, Vu Hung, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nham, Tran Quoc Hien, Truong Quoc Huy, Nguyen Hoang Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, Nguyen Tien Trung, Nguyen Xuan Nghia and Le Cong Dinh).
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard wrote to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on 20 July urging him to pardon these human rights activists, journalists and bloggers.
When Vietnam was admitted to the World Trade Organisation in 2006, it agreed to reconcile economic development with respect for its citizens’ fundamental rights. Vietnam is also a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enshrines freedom of expression and opinion as a fundamental right that everyone should be able to exercise freely.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Sad anniversary. A year ago to the day, a former student of Rennes, Nguyen Tien Trung, was arrested in his country, Vietnam, "attempting to overthrow the regime of the people." He was sentenced to 7 years in prison and three years of house arrest.
Trung studied five years in Rennes from 2002 to 2007, when he received his diploma in computer engineering from the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA). During these years the young man now 27 years created the Association "Vietnamese Youth for Democracy". During an internship in the U.S., he met exiled Vietnamese and Canadian Prime Minister and former President George Bush ... After graduation, he returned to Vietnam. In March 2007 he was called up. He was arrested and jailed July 7, 2009.
Since then, a support committee was formed with former classmates and teachers Insa. City and County, as Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International, continues to press for his release. For them, Trung was taken as an example.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Update on the health situation of Nguyen Tien Trung held since July 7, 2009.
According to his parents, Nguyen Tien Trung was in good health. He pumps a day in 1000 to deal with. He would like to read books in computer science, mathematics and novels in French and English but it is forbidden to bring into the prison the books that are not Vietnamese.
The support committee Nguyen Tien Trung has met each other on 1 and 2 May 2010 in Rennes.
Present: Quoc Nam and his wife My Duyen (both regular members of the committee), Nguyen Hoai Nam (Nguyen Tien Trung's brother and vice-chair), Philippe Echard (Chairman) and his wife Zoubida Jadda (Regular Member of the Committee), Marie-Jo Pedrono (regular member of the committee) and Severine Denis (Vice-Chair of the Committee).
The committee's activities during the weekend were:
- On 1 May:
Meeting: talked about current activities and those need to be done.
- May 2: Visit an exhibition on the "boat people" in the building of the "Champs Libres in Rennes.
At the meeting of May 1, the support committee decided:
- To send parcels regularly to Trung (in prison). These packages contain only food.
- To strengthen the partnership with supporting committees involved in the fight for the release of other dissidents in Vietnam.
The visit of the exhibition has been emotional and allowed us to understand more about the boat people of Vietnam, who have paid everything for freedom.