European Parliament urges the Vietnamese authorities to cease human rights violations

Press release

Welcoming last Thursday’s European Parliament resolution on Vietnam, FIDH and its member organisation, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), renew their call to the Vietnamese authorities to cease these violations and call upon the European Union to pursue its efforts to that end.

Reflecting the concerns raised in the report published by FIDH and VCHR entitled “Bloggers and netizens behind bars”, the European Parliament firmly condemns the continuing violations of human rights, including political intimidation, harassment, assaults, arbitrary arrests, heavy prison sentences and unfair trials, in Vietnam perpetrated against political activists, journalists, bloggers, dissidents and human rights defenders, both on- and offline, in clear violation of Vietnam’s international human rights obligations, and urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all bloggers, online journalists and human rights defenders.

Recalling that several bloggers have been sentenced under vaguely worded “national security” provisions and expressing its concerns about the draft “Decree on management, provision, use of internet services and information content on line”, the European Parliament calls upon Vietnam to repeal and amend the legislations that restrict freedom of expression and to put them in line with international standards and obligations.

This express recognition of the gravity of the situation by the European Union is a highly valuable source of support for those who are harassed, intimidated and arbitrarily detained for nothing else than exercising their right of freedom of expression in Vietnam said Souhayr Belhassen, President of the FIDH.

The European Parliament also called upon Vietnam to put an end to religious persecution, to cease land confiscation and to ensure access to legal remedies and adequate compensation for farmers expelled from their lands.

Noting that the resolution comes just before a visit by the Vietnamese Ethnic Minority Council to Brussels on Thursday, the FIDH and VCHR hope this resolution will impress upon Vietnam the need to put an end to policies of discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, said Vo Van Ai, President of the VCHR. These are documented in a report VCHR submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in February 2012 and concern expropriation from ancestral lands, population displacement, State-sponsored migration of Kinh people into minority regions, religious persecution, arbitrary arrests and disappearances.

The FIDH and the VCHR welcome the European Parliament’s call for an assessment of the compatibility of the Vietnamese government’s policies with human rights to be put on the European agenda. As recalled in the resolution, the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) contains a human rights clause which stipulates that the respect of human rights and democratic principles is an essential element of EU-Vietnam bilateral relations.

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