Vietnam: European Parliament condemns increasing crackdown and surge of human rights violations

In the urgency resolution adopted on January 21 by the European Parliament (EP), the MEPs expressed their outrage at the appalling crackdown on dissent and specifically called upon the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release human rights defenders and journalists Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan, as well as all others detained and sentenced for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to drop all charges against them. They further urge Vietnam to invite and give free access to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

The EP further reiterated and underlined that ‘respect for human rights constitutes a key foundation of the bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU and is an essential element of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.’ FIDH and its member organisation, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) welcome this call that echoes and reinforces their longstanding work to ensure that the EU uses all the tools at its disposal to ensure EU-Vietnam agreements improve the human rights situation in the country, and in particular, with regard to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the need to carry out a swift and comprehensive human rights impact assessment and for ‘companies based in or operating within the EU to comply with the UNGPs and both international and human rights law.’ They remind Vietnam that the EU-Vietnam PCA, linked to the EVFTA, allows for appropriate action to be taken if they fail to abide by its human rights obligations, which is clearly the case.

The EP, following FIDH’s advocacy briefings, once again calls for the ‘establishment of an independent monitoring mechanism on human rights and an independent complaints mechanism, providing affected citizens and local stakeholders with effective recourse to remedy’ and for ‘an effective control system for the export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment, arms and dual-use goods, including internet surveillance technology.

FIDH joins the EP’s call for the EU to intensify their multilateral engagement, including at the UN Human Rights Council, to condemn the worsening human rights situation in Vietnam and engage to deliver strong and concrete human rights improvements.

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