May 31, 2019
On May 31st, Senator Ngo’s Office, in collaboration with the International Committee for a Free and Democratic Vietnam (ICFDV), hosted a Conference on the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam in the prestigious Sir John A. Macdonald Building in the heart of downtown Ottawa.
The purpose of the Conference was to shed light on Vietnam’s dire human rights record and increasing crackdown on peaceful dissent under the guise of national security. Vietnam’s citizens are also subjected to restrictions on religious freedom and repressive online censorship regulations. Moreover, the use of torture on democratic activists and bloggers have constantly ranked the Socialist Republic of Vietnam among the top offenders in the world.
Therefore, the conference served to inform Canadians about these issues, which are often weighed against Vietnam’s progressive free trade agreements and promising investment opportunities as an important part of the Southeast Asian market. The conference also aimed to explore how Canada’s expanding commercial ties and diplomatic strategy are inevitably confronted by Vietnam’s human rights violations, which have intensified in the information and digital age.
Senator Ngo hosted a panel that brought together leading thinkers, including Mr. John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, Ms. Irene Poetranto, Senior Researcher at the Citizen Lab, and Mr. Marius Grinius, former Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. The second part of the conference also included a presentation by Senator Ngo’s guest speaker, Mr. Vo Minh Tri (aka Viet Khang), who shared his experience as a prominent activist and victim of Communism.
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