Senator Thanh Hai Ngo today issued the following statement condemning the alarming prison sentences for three Vietnamese democracy activists for hindering traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Tuesday, August 26, 2014.
“These pointless prison terms were handed down against three peaceful Vietnamese democracy activists for allegedly obstructing traffic as they rode their motorbikes to visit a former political prisoner in Dong Thap province.”
“I categorically condemn the convictions of Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Nguyen Van Minh who have been sentenced to 3 years, 2 years and 2 ½ years respectively. I also call on the Vietnamese Government to drop these politically motivated charges against these three activists and to release them immediately.”
“As a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, I find these charges used to repress political freedom an extremely disturbing practice in Vietnam. Despite international warnings, the Vietnamese authorities continue to use public disorder laws to imprison dissidents for peacefully expressing their political views.”
“We cannot not simply stand idle while the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, calls upon his single-ruling Communist Party to crackdown on dissent. In wake of these escalating international human rights violations, the Government of Canada’s strong foreign policy on human rights would have to call a reassessment of its trade relationship and its development assistance with Vietnam.”
“It should not be unexpected if Vietnam’s deteriorating human rights situation hinders its economic opportunities with foreign investors and influences its Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.”
On the surface, it would appear that Vietnam is showing signs of improving its human rights record, as it opens up its economy to foreign investors and improves its standard of living. However, international observers continue to warn of human rights violations committed by the single-party regime, notably its suppression of expression, association and assembly.