Friday, July 26, 2013

Bloggers Demand Vietnam Comply with Human Rights Rules

AsiaSentinel
Your friendly human rights guardians
Hanoi under consideration for UN Human Rights Council seat

A network of 65 Vietnamese bloggers are demanding that the country amend its laws to demonstrate a commitment to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council on human rights before it can qualify to become a member of the UN organization.

The group sent its petition to 17 major human rights and governmental organizations this week. 

The country is a candidate for the US Human Rights Commission for 2014-2016 despite the fact that it maintains one of Southeast Asia's strictest policies against dissent. On July 19, US State Department officials told a Congressional subcommittee that closer ties with Vietnam, in particular weapons sales, are on hold until there is "continued, demonstrable, sustained improvement in the human rights situation."

Unfortunately, the UN has had a record of appointing some of the world's worst human rights violators to the Human Rights Council, including Saudi Arabia, China, Congo, Cuba and Qatar, causing the Bush administration to withdraw from the body. The Obama administration has returned to the organization, insisting on US membership since 2009.

Certainly, concerns over human rights so far haven't slowed Vietnam's crackdown against bloggers. Police arrested yet another one on June 13, charging Pham Viet Dao with "abusing his right of free speech to undermine the interests of the State." According to the Associated Press, 43 dissidents have been jailed this year, twice the pace of 2012. 

"Vietnam must demonstrate its commitment to cooperating with the HRC and upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights," the Vietnamese petitioners said in the document, made public earlier this week. "These obligations and responsibilities do not only apply on the international arena, but also inside Vietnam. The Vietnamese government also needs to review the human rights situation in their own country and the Vietnamese people also have a right to freedom of opinion and expression, including on these matters.

"In order to improve the protection of human rights in Vietnam, we will take HRC's principles as guidelines for our actions, which also comply with Vietnam's obligations under international human rights law. The blogger group reported in their open letter that they will continue to attempt to stand up for human rights policies. Their demands follow:

"We will:

- Continue to promote and inform the Vietnamese people about their rights by publicly distributing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), organizing public forums to discuss human rights in Vietnam and advocating for necessary improvements of the respect and protection of human rights.

- Continue to monitor, publicly report and comment on improvement, setbacks, or violations of human rights in Vietnam, with a focus on policy and practice by the Vietnamese authorities that affect human rights.

In order to fulfill these responsible actions, we call upon the Vietnamese government and the HRC to review Article 258 of the 1999 Penal Code, amended in 2009 - "crime of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens."

In May, two bloggers were detained right after they distributed the UDHR and police accused them of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state. Only weeks later, two other bloggers were detained after participating an outdoor picnic to discuss the content of the UDHR.

Most recently, in May and June 2013, Article 258 was used to arrest blogger Truong Duy Nhat, Pham Viet Dao, and Dinh Nhat Uy for exercising their rights of freedom of expression by peacefully publishing texts on their blogs.

This article is in breach of the Article 19 of the UDHR: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

It would be a great responsibility to serve as a member state of the Human Rights Council, and an opportunity to promote human rights domestically and abroad. For a successful candidacy, we believe Vietnam must repeal or make amendments to Article 258 to ensure that Vietnamese people are free to educate themselves about and promote human rights.

We hope that Vietnam will consider the abrogation of Article 258 to demonstrate its commitment and contribution to promoting and protecting human rights, and we hope that the General Assembly members will push Vietnam to do so during the campaigning period.

We request Vietnam to present its human rights pledges as a candidate well before the election, to enable members of the General Assembly to assess its human rights commitment. The abrogation of Article 258 should be among the pledges.

As said by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General - "All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action." As advocates for freedom of expression in Vietnam and victims of human rights violations because of our activism, we view Vietnam's candidacy for the HRC as a platform for constructive human rights discussions in our country.

List of the Vietnamese Bloggers Signing the Statement

STTHọ TênĐịa chỉFacebook / Blog
1Võ Quốc AnhKhánh Hòahttps://www.facebook.com/Augustanh?fref=ts
2Hoàng Quốc BảoSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/quocbao
3Ngô Trung BộSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/tonyngo1900
4Phạm Lê Vương Các Sài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/cui.cac
5Huỳnh Ngọc Chênh Sài Gònhttp://huynhngocchenh.blogspot.com/
6Nguyễn Thảo Chi Sài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/ut.kung.311
7Hoàng CườngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/cuong.hoangcong.3
8Vũ Tuấn CườngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/cuongvtc
9Nguyễn Đắc Hải DiOslo (Norway)https://www.facebook.com/bananafish11?fref=ts
10Nguyễn Nữ Phương DungSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/junie.no1
11Lê DũngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/AlfonsoVova
12Hoàng Văn DũngSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/hd.cdvn
13Nguyễn Văn DũngPhu Thohttps://www.facebook.com/aduku.adk
14Trương Văn DũngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/truong.v.dung.73
15Lã Việt DũngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/lavietdung
16Mai Xuân DũngHà Nộihttp://dzungm86.blogspot.com/
17Ngô Nhật ĐăngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/nhatdang.ngo
18Nguyễn Chí ĐứcHà Nộihttp://donghailongvuong.wordpress.com/
19Trương Minh ĐứcBình Dương
20Nguyễn Đình HàHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/loveland090
21Hoàng Thu HàHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/hoang.ha.7923
22Lê Minh HảiSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/haiduongstar
23Nguyễn Phước HảiSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/phuochai.nguyen.96
24Phạm Văn HảiKhánh Hòa
25Bùi Thị Minh HằngBà Rịa Vũng Tàuhttp://danoanbuihang.blogspot.com/
26Nguyễn Vũ HiệpHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/florence.knightingale
27Nguyễn Hải HoànNam Địnhhttps://www.facebook.com/hai.hoan.9
28Nguyễn Huy Hoàng
https://www.facebook.com/hscrp
29Vũ Sỹ HoàngSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/vuongsahy
30Huỳnh Thái HọcKhánh Hòahttps://www.facebook.com/thaihoc.huynh
31Nguyễn Thị HơiNam Địnhhttps://www.facebook.com/cat.bui.9275
32Trịnh HộiCalifornia, USAhttps://www.facebook.com/hoitrinh
33Lê Anh HùngQuảng Trịhttp://leanhhungblog.blogspot.com/
34Trần Văn HuỳnhSài Gòn
35Nguyễn Việt HưngYên Báihttps://www.facebook.com/hungviet.nguyen.10
36Nguyễn Việt HưngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/pet.viethung?fref=ts
37Đặng Thị HườngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/cogiao.mamnon
38Nguyễn Hồng KiênHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/nguyenhong.kien1
39Nguyễn Xuân KimNghệ Anhttps://www.facebook.com/toitudo1080
40Bùi Tuấn LâmĐà Nẵng
41Đặng Ngọc LanHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/lan.dang.1428
42Lê Thị Phương LanHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/lan.le.7524
43Thùy LinhHà Nộihttp://www.buudoan.com/
44Vũ Thị Thùy LinhHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/Linhvtt
45Đào Trang LoanHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/hu.vo.777
46Lê Thăng Long Sài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/lethanglong.ptcdvn
47Đinh Hữu MinhHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/nhat.minh.965
48Nguyễn Tiến NamYên Báihttps://www.facebook.com/binhnhi12
49Nguyễn Việt NamHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003901362023&fref=ts
50Trần Thị NgaHà Namhttps://www.facebook.com/nga.thuy.3154
51Phạm Thanh NghiênHải Phònghttps://www.facebook.com/thanh.nghien.1
52Vũ Quốc NgữHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/ngu.vuquoc
53Đào Hữu Nghĩa NhânSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/dao.huu.nghia.nhan
54Bùi Thị NhungNinh Bìnhhttps://www.facebook.com/bemap.lai.3
55Tô OanhBắc Gianghttp://oanhblog.wordpress.com/
56Lê Hồng PhongHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/thiennhan.le
57Phan Văn PhongHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/luongdan.
58Hà Sĩ PhuLâm Đồngwww.hasiphu.com
59Phạm Tiến QuốcSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/quoc.pham.129
60Nguyễn Trần Quyên QuyênSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/bluebeeblue
61Nguyễn Ngọc Như QuỳnhKhánh Hòahttps://www.facebook.com/menamnhuquynh
62Lê Trung SơnHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/mrsonle
63Trương Minh TamHà Namhttps://www.facebook.com/truong.bakhong
64Nguyễn Công ThanhSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/tnguyencong
65Trịnh Hoàng ThanhHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/thanhth1
66L.M. Anton Lê Ngọc ThanhSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/tin.vui
67Hồ Đức ThànhHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/ho.d.thanh.3?sk=wall
68Lưu ThànhSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/thanh.luu.509994
69Nguyễn Hồ Nhật ThànhSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/paulothanhnguyen
70Phạm Văn ThànhParis (France)https://www.facebook.com/phamthanhbuoi
71Nguyễn Lân ThắngHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/nkmh2011?fref=ts
72Châu Văn ThiSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/yeunuocv?fref=ts
73Khổng Hy ThiêmKhánh Hòahttps://www.facebook.com/khong.thiem
74Võ Trường ThiệnKhánh Hòahttps://www.facebook.com/votruongthien9000
75L.M. Giuse Đinh Hữu Thoại Sài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/dinh.h.thoai?fref=ts
76Huỳnh Công ThuậnSài Gònhttp://huynhcongthuan.blogspot.com/
77Nguyễn Tường ThụyHà Nộihttp://nguyentuongthuy2012.wordpress.com/
78Trịnh Kim TiếnSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/trinhkimkim
79Nguyễn Thành TiếnHải Phònghttps://www.facebook.com/Gia.tai.cua.me
80Phạm ToànHà Nội
81Trịnh Văn ToànHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/toan.trinh.5621
82Lê Thu TràHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/thutra.le
83Nghiêm Ngọc TraiHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/vietanh.nghiem
84Phạm Đoan TrangHà Nộiwww.phamdoantrang.com
85Nguyễn Thu TrangHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/nguyenthutrang.ct
86Hoàng Đức TrọngSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/trongsg
87Phạm Văn TrộiHà Nội
88Hoàng Anh Trung Hà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/pioneer.omv
89Huỳnh Chí TrungSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/chitrung.huynh
90Nguyễn Anh Tuấn Đà Nẵnghttps://www.facebook.com/motanhnang
91Trịnh Anh TuấnĐăk Lăkhttps://www.facebook.com/giogiolangthang
92Vũ Quốc TúSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/uyen.vu2106
93Đặng Vũ TùngSwitzerlandhttps://www.facebook.com/dang.votong
94Nguyễn Chí TuyếnHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/N.AnhChi?fref=ts
95Lê TuyếtHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/coolsnow86?fref=ts
96Nguyễn Hoàng Vi Sài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/nghoangvi?fref=ts
97Nguyễn Văn ViênHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/cu.giavaomang
98Bùi Quang ViễnSài Gònhttps://www.facebook.com/chet.chit
99Lê Công VinhBà Rịa Vũng Tàuhttps://www.facebook.com/vinhleco
100J.B Nguyễn Hữu VinhHà Nộihttps://www.facebook.com/azznexin
101Nguyễn Xuân VuiKhánh Hòahttps://www.facebook.com/vui.nguyen.165
102Đặng Tuấn VũHà Nội
103Huỳnh Thục VyQuảng Namhttps://www.facebook.com/huynhthucvy

List of International Organizations Receiving the Statement
1. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights InfoDesk@ohchr.org
2. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) yap@forum-asia.org
3. Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) seapa@seapa.org
4. Human Right Watch hrwpress@hrw.org
5. Freedom House info@freedomhouse.org
6. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) info@cpj.org
7. International Freedom of Expression Exchange network (IFEX) campaigns@ifex.org media@ifex.org
8. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) amanet@fidh.org
9. Civil Rights Defenders info@civilrightsdefenders.org
10. Amnesty International press@amnesty.org
11. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) info@forum-asia.org
12. Human Right Law Network contact@hrln.org
13. Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN) http://www.seahrn.org/
14. Southeast Asia Press Alliance(SEAPA) http://www.seapabkk.org/
15. Swedish International Development Cooporation Agency (SIDA) sida@sida.se
16. Open Society Foundation (OSF) http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/
17. Front Line Defenders info@frontlinedefenders.org

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