Vietnam: Release of Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Thao

Urgent Appeal

New information
VNM 002 / 1119 / OBS 092.1
Release /
Obstacles to freedom of movement
November 15, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Vietnam.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the release of Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Thao, a 28-year-old Vietnamese human rights defender and pro-democracy activist, and the confiscation of her passport.

According to the information received, at approximately 5:00pm on November 15, 2019, Ms. Thao was released without charges after several hours of interrogation at Hanoi International Airport. Her passport confiscated by the Vietnamese authorities.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Ms. Thao, but deplores the confiscation of her passport, which prevents her from travelling abroad to conduct human rights activities. The Observatory urges the Vietnamese authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of movement of Ms. Thao, and to put an end to all acts of harassment against her.

Background information:

At approximately 9:30am on November 15, 2019, about 10 security officers from the Ministry of Public Security took Ms. Thao to an interrogation room at Hanoi International Airport upon her arrival from Bangkok, Thailand.

Ms. Thao returned to Vietnam after several years abroad campaigning for the improvement of Vietnam’s human rights record. Before leaving Vietnam in 2016, Ms. Thao had advocated for environmental protection in Hanoi, supported victims of police brutality, and denounced the use of the death penalty. During her time abroad from 2016 to 2019, Ms. Thao engaged with various United Nations human rights mechanisms, European Union bodies, foreign governments, as well as regional and international human rights NGOs in order to raise the international community’s awareness about the dire human rights situation in Vietnam. From 2016 to September 2019, Ms. Thao worked with the Vietnamese human rights NGO VOICE.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Vietnam asking them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Thao and of all human rights defenders in Vietnam.

ii. Put an end to any harassment against Ms. Thao and all human rights defenders in Vietnam, and ensure in all circumstances their freedom of movement and that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

iii. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1, 5(c), and 12.2.

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Vietnam.


• Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, President of Vietnam; Email:
• Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam; Email:
• Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-38231872 – 84-4-37992682, Email:
• Mr. Le Vinh Tan, Minister of Home Affairs of Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-39781005
• Mr. Le Thanh Long, Minister of Justice of Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-38431431
• Mr. To Lam, Minister of Public Security of Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-9420223
• Mr. Mai Tien Dung, Minister, Office of the Government (OOG), Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-80 44130
• Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24, Email:
• Embassy of Vietnam in Brussels, Belgium; Fax: +32 (0)2 374 93 76, Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Vietnam in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva, November 15, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
● E-mail:
● Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
● Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

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