Australian Senator Urges Vietnam to set example as chair of ASEAN in 2010 on human rights record

27 11 2009

President Nguyen Minh Triet
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Hoang Hoa Tham
Ha Noi

Ref: PJ – NGUY

Dear Mr President,

I am writing this letter to express my concern at the recent trials where nine democracy activists were sentenced to jail.

These include poet Tran Duc Thach, High school teacher Vu Hung, Engineer Pham Van Troi, Writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia, university student Ngo Quynh, former communist party member Nguyen Manh Son, essayist Nguyen Van Tinh, land rights activist Nguyen Van Tuc, and electrician Nguyen Kim Nhan. Their sentences range from two to six years of imprisonment.

These activists were criminalised for their exercise of the freedom of speech which is supposedly protected by the Vietnamese Constitution. This is a clear violation of the international covenants on human rights to which Vietnam is a signatory. Of a particular concern is the case of writer and human rights activist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy. I was informed that Thuy and her husband were assaulted and arrested by plain clothes policemen while traveling to support the above activists on trial. I have learnt that since being detained, Ms Thuy’s health has deteriorated with worsening diabetes and heart conditions due to poor medical care whle in prison.

I am therefore quite concerned about her well-being and seeking your assistance to intervene by ensuring an impartial investigation into the maltreatment of Ms Thuy and her family. I also urge you to immediately release ali imprisoned human rights activists as Vietnam is about to chair ASEAN in 2010 and therefore must set a positive example in protecting human rights and promoting free speech.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT

25 November 2009





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