Oral statement for the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Vietnam

04/07/2019
Statement

Mr. President,

FIDH and its member organization VCHR are deeply disturbed by the wide gap between the Vietnamese government’s rhetoric and the frightening reality faced by Vietnamese people in their daily lives.

The reality is that today Vietnam holds over 130 prisoners of conscience, one third more than those detained last year.

The reality is that large-scale repression of peaceful demonstrations, often by government-hired thugs, continues to occur.

The reality is that persecution against religious communities remains pervasive.

The reality is that systematic harassment, arrest, and lengthy prison sentences for human rights defenders is relentless.

The reality is that more restrictive laws and regulations, such as the Law on Belief and Religion, the Cybersecurity Law, and the Press Law, have been adopted.

In this UPR cycle, Vietnam accepted, either wholly or in part, almost 83% of the recommendations it received. However, a close reading of its reservations and 50 non-accepted recommendations shows that Vietnam has no political will to address the serious violations of civil and political rights in the country.

The Vietnamese government rejects references to “national security”, which is the cornerstone of government repression, as well as recommendations to protect human rights defenders or amend laws that restrict human rights. It invokes “Vietnam’s circumstances” to justify the non-implementation of the UN Convention against Torture.

It rejects very important recommendations deemed to be, I quote, “contentious”. In fact, the so-called “contentious” terms rejected by Vietnam are “human rights defenders”, “Paris Principles”, “abolishing censorship”, “independent media”, and “political plurality and democracy”.

Finally, contrary to Vietnam’s claim that it cooperates with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, requests for an in-country visit submitted by this mandate since 2002 have received no reply from Hanoi.

I dedicate this statement to Thich Quang Do and all human rights defenders in Vietnam.

Thank you Mr. President,

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