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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More