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Vietnam Arrests Activists; Clinton Urges Respect for Human Rights
November 4, 2010
By: Randi Zung
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Prior to United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic tour of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, on October 27, the US embassy in Vietnam reported that the Vietnamese government had failed to respect the human rights of several opposition activists.  In a press release, the US embassy said that the Vietnamese government was working to silence opposition voices by arbitrarily arresting bloggers and other democracy and human rights activists.  Echoing the Obama administration’s previous appeal, the embassy called on the Vietnamese government to commit to “internationally accepted standards of human rights.”

The Washington Post reported that Western diplomats have identified the recent arrests as part of a year-long crackdown in preparation for Vietnam’s upcoming parliamentary election in January 2011.  Three of the latest arrestees were convicted of disrupting state security and for distributing anti-government leaflets.  Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung was given a nine year sentence while Doan Huy Chuong and Do Thi Minh Hanh both received seven year sentences.  The Vietnamese government has jailed 21 activists since October 2009.  The Vietnamese government has denied that the recent arrests were politically motivated. 

At a press event with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Clinton stated “the United States remains concerned about the arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, the attacks on religious groups, the curbs on Internet freedom, including of bloggers. Vietnam has so much potential, and we believe that political reform and respect for human rights are an essential part of realizing that potential.”  This marks Clinton’s second trip to Vietnam this year.

Additionally, the New York Times reported that both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for the release of the opposition activists.  According to figures from Amnesty International, the Vietnamese government is currently holding at least 30 political prisoners, however other organizations have cited that the number is closer to 50.

For previous news on Vietnam, please see:
Clinton Criticizes Human Rights Abuses

Sources:
Washington Post - Clinton arriving, Vietnam arrests bloggers, sentences activists

Embassy of the United States in Vietnam – Democracy Advocated Convicted in Vietnam

New York Times - Clinton Is Urged to Confront Vietnam on Human Rights

US Department of State – Remarks With Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem

 

 

 

 

 

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