Vietnam’s Vow to End Human Rights Abuses in Question

Vietnam has been portraying itself as a lawful country and claims to have ended any form of human right abuses since it has joined the World Trade Organization but in reality, this is completely untrue according to the Human Rights Watch which has characterized the Vietnamese government’s persecution on democracy activists since November 2006 as the worst in 20 years.
On March 30, 2007 a Catholic priest and founder of a group fighting for greater political freedom called Bloc 8406, Father Nguyen Van Ly, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment under charges of “carrying out propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” and “having distributed materials intended to undermine the government”. The other four members who helped Father Ly published a book called Tu do Ngon luan (Free Speech) are also sentenced to imprisonment ranging from 18 months to six years.
“Several key organizers of Bloc 8406 and their families have been harassed and imprisoned, showing that the Vietnamese government is still trying to silence its critics,” said Sophie Richardson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Targeting the most vocal, visible activists sends a message to the others: don’t speak out, or you’ll receive the same fate.”
Apart from Bloc 8406, the government also restricts members of independent trade unions and ethnic minority Christians, Mennonites, and members of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). More than 350 Mantagnards in Central Highlands have been arrested for worshipping in an unauthorized Christian church and carried out movement for land rights and religious freedom.
For the past several years, Western countries have been asking the Vietnamese government to promote “transparency and rule of law” to fight corruption for smooth business activities. Among them is Norway which has been active in promoting human rights in Vietnam which has asked for the government to allow freedom of speech, release all Vietnamese arrested for their religious or political beliefs and to respect and act in accordance with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

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