News / Asia

    Police Crack Down on Human Rights Day Events in Vietnam

    Marianne Brown
    Activists in Vietnam have complained of police harassment at events held to mark International Human Rights Day.  

    To mark the day Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear issued a statement  urging the country to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an agreement adopted in 1948 which outlines fundamental freedoms and rights of people across the world.

    Shear said achieving demonstrable progress on human rights is vital to the relationship between the two countries and affects every facet of foreign policy.

    Over the last few months Vietnam has signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture and reached out to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief to visit Vietnam, the statement said.

    It has also become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. However, some activists question how much progress has really been made.

    This week, participants at rallies to celebrate Human Rights Day reported being harassed by police.

    Blogger Me Nam, which means “Mother Mushroom,” was at the inaugural meeting of Vietnamese Women For Human Rights on Tuesday at a pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City.

    “Today we gave the invitation to about 50 people. Some of them couldn’t be there because the police stop [them] at the beginning at home,” said Me Nam.

    The group was launched last month to provide a support network for women involved in human rights activism.

    “The important issues that we talk about today is we gave the plan to visit the home of women who were arrested or who have husbands or brothers who were arrested. We also meet some people who are farmers who lost their land and they were evicted by the police,” said Me Nam.

    Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Lan Thang in a Hanoi cafe on Nov. 27, 2013.Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Lan Thang in a Hanoi cafe on Nov. 27, 2013.
    x
    Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Lan Thang in a Hanoi cafe on Nov. 27, 2013.
    Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Lan Thang in a Hanoi cafe on Nov. 27, 2013.
    At another event on Sunday more than 100 people gathered near a park in central Hanoi to hand out balloons marked with the slogan “Our Human Rights Must Be Respected.” However, blogger Nguyen Lan Thang said the event was soon broken up by police.

    He said the police prevented bloggers from handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He said at a similar meeting in Ho Chi Minh City the same day police threw mắm tôm - a pungent condiment made of fermented shrimp - at participants.

    Thang is a member of the Vietnamese Bloggers Network, a group of online activists who are calling for greater freedom of expression in the country. On Tuesday the group launched a new website.

    Thang said the network is new and open, and welcomes anyone who is interested in a broad range of human rights issues to join.

    Vietnam has been criticized for using vaguely worded laws to prosecute activists. In a move last month which some analysts believe marks a change in the government's approach, lawmakers passed Decree 174, which lays out restrictions on internet content. The latest legislation outlines fines of up to $2,500 for conducting propaganda against the state via social networks or websites.

    Trinh Huu Long, a lawyer and former journalist is among another group of activists who have asked the National Assembly to interpret an article in the constitution which covers freedom of association.

    “We want it to be clearer, more specific, not ambiguous like current laws,” said Trinh Huu Long.

    However, they have as yet received no response from authorities.

    Blogger Thang said the change of tactic will not intimidate online activists. He said people are more confident in speaking out because the activist community is growing larger and stronger.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora