Vietnam: The EU must use its free trade agreement clauses to protect environmental defenders

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FIDH and its member organisation Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) have written to the European Commission to denounce again the arrests of environmental defenders in Vietnam. The organisations call on the EU to follow up on Vietnam’s serious violation of its human rights commitments under both the EU-Vietnam free trade agreements (EVFTA) and international law.

Brussels, 6 June 2023. Vietnam has once again arrested well-known environmentalist Hoang Thi Minh Hong, making her at least the fifth activist in the country to have been arrested under the pretext of tax evasion. FIDH and VCHR had also previously drawn attention to the case of Đặng Đình Bách, who is still in jail since his arrest in June 2021. Despite these calls, it remains unclear what steps the EU has taken to address these violations, especially in the context of its free trade agreements with Vietnam.

In a new letter to the European Commission, FIDH and VCHR have denounced that Vietnam maintains its civil society under threat as part of a systematic, serious, and persistent pattern of violations of the international human rights instruments ratified by Vietnam. Their respect constitutes an essential element of the EVFTA and the EU-Vietnam relations more broadly.

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