Senator Thanh Hai Ngo today issued the following statement regarding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to Vietnam:
“This week, Prime Minister Trudeau, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, will attend the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week from November 8 to 11, 2017, in Vietnam.
“This international forum is a unique opportunity for Prime Minister Trudeau to raise Canada’s serious concerns about the dire state of human rights in Vietnam during his bilateral meetings.
“Prime Minister Trudeau must directly urge Vietnam’s leaders to release the hundreds of political prisoners, including Mr. Nguyen Van Dai, Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, among other names I have provided his Office and Minister Freeland’s, who are currently locked up for simply exercising their basic rights.
“Vietnam’s record of international human rights violations, its crackdown on rights advocates and its suppression of a growing democratic movement have significantly worsened leading up to APEC 2017 and in the aftermath of Vietnam’s worst environmental disaster, a toxic chemical waste spill from the Formosa steel plant that has affected millions of citizens.
“The Prime Minister and his ministers have a unique opportunity to urge the Vietnamese authorities to cease all violent harassment of activists, stop the brutal oppression of independent organizations, remove all political restrictions on the religious activities of targeted faith groups and take demonstrable steps toward ending systemic corruption and the use of torture.
“For Canada to uphold its foreign policy priorities, Prime Minister Trudeau must demand greater respect for international human rights standards in tandem with the progressive trade agenda he wishes to promote with Vietnam and other APEC economies.”