Author: Pham Chi Dung
Translated by Trang Thien Long
July 27, 2014.
Ho Chi Minh City Department of Police and some local policemen barred some pro-democracy activists from going out of home from July 25, 2014 to some days later it’s the latest, liveliest and most blatant example about “State of Vietnam always respects and guarantees human rights.”
On July 25, Mr. Heiner Biederfeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion arrived HCM city to meet a number of religious leaders and witnesses to verify how the nature of the “Vietnam accepted the recommendations of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations” is.
Not only Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, independent journalist Pham Chi Dung, Mrs. Duong Thi Tan(ex-wife prisoner Nguyen Van Hai Dieu Cay), former prisoner of conscience Pham Ba Hai were prevented at their home gate, but also two Protestant pastor Nguyen Hoang Hoa andNguyen Manh Hung did. Any movement of legitimate citizens to go out one’s houses was pushed inside by security policemen rudely and entirely illegally.
Breached its Commitment
Before being formally approved to be a member of the Human Rights Council of the UN, the Vietnam authorities committed 14 conditions, including inviting the UN special rapporteurs of religious freedom to Vietnam, and “creating the best conditions” so that he can meet anyone necessarily.
In the first half of 2014, the above commitment was reiterated by the high-level leaders, President Truong Tan Sang, PM. Nguyen Tan Dung, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Public Security in the meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Special Advisor to the Government of the United States. Commitment to religious freedom also integrated in the official report of the Vietnam delegation at the UN Human Rights Council in June 2014, Switzerland.
One other member of Politburo Mr. Pham Quang Nghi, considered as a potential candidate for General Secretary of the Communist party in the 12th congress in 2016, also just launched the slogan “Vietnam always ensures human rights” in his tour to the United States recently.
By the agreement of nations within Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the State of Vietnam was accepted to participate in the Human Rights Council at the United Nations with condition that it meets human rights and democracy the international community requires. However, the most last evidence to prevent citizens mentioned has shown that to senior leaders in Vietnam, “sayand do” are still two different acts, politically and morally.
Morality of politician?
The said difference may be the reason that Australia, though formerly quite courteous to the government of Vietnam, expressed their stronger stance in demanding the Vietnam state should respect more human rights.
Ahead of the human rights dialogue between Vietnam and Australia on late July 2014, Vietnam government scored a very bad point about the “achievement” of human rights violations. Such not-to-be-the-first violation but systemic, inevitably leads to questions can not be avoided:
1. Illegal prevention with “actively operational measures” to the above citizens executed by either themselves – the HCMC police and some local police or order from the higher levels?
2. If the police was directed, so what leaders of Vietnam have instructed to prevent citizens contacting with the UN Rapporteur on freedom of religion?
3. If such direction to prevent citizens is the responsibility of Vietnam’s leaders who often come out promising with the UN and the U.S. about 14 commitments on human rights, what extend the UN and the Western world should have a deep and sharp look at these leaders, including a link with two bills, Vietnam human Rights Act and the Vietnam Human Rights Sanctions, are still pending in U.S. Senate?
Pham Chi Dung, PhD.
President of Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam
Spokesman of Former Vietnamese Prisoner of Conscience
Member of Vietnam’s Civil Society Forum