Vietnam Should End Harassment of Human Rights Activists
UPDATE: February 24, 2014 - Freedom House condemns the latest attack on Nguyen Bac Truyen and remains concerned for his safety. Plainclothes officers attacked Truyen and his wife on February 24 while they were on their way to a meeting at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi to discuss an earlier assault. According to the organization ‘Vietnam Free Press,’ officers stopped the taxi, assaulted the taxi driver before pulling out Truyen and beating him. Freedom House urges Vietnam’s government to end its harassment of and attacks on Truyen and all other human rights activists.
Freedom House condemns the police raid February 9 on the home of Vietnamese human rights defender Nguyen Bac Truyen, and the brief detention of both Nguyen and his fiancé, Bui Thi Kim Phuong. The raid came just days after the Government of Vietnam received recommendations from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where Vietnam is a sitting member, on improving the protection of human rights.
A large contingent of police and plainclothes security officers forced their way into Nguyen’s house in Dong Thap Province. According both to press accounts and an account by Bui, authorities assaulted Nguyen before blindfolding, handcuffing and gagging him, and dragged him into a waiting van. Police also smashed windows and destroyed furnishings and other items in the home, including the family’s sacred altar. They also confiscated Nguyen’s laptop, cell phone, and camera. His fiancé was taken to the local police station and interrogated for five hours before being released. Authorities released Nguyen after 24 hours of detention, but he remains at risk of arrest or physical attack.
Nguyen has provided free legal assistance to victims of land confiscation, published widely about rights abuses and the need for multi-party democracy, and also publicized the plight of political prisoners. He was imprisoned from 2007 to 2010.
Freedom House calls on the Government of Vietnam to immediately end its attacks on Nguyen and other human rights defenders. As a member of the UNHRC, Vietnam should conscientiously observe the rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ensuring that the fundamental freedoms of all Vietnamese citizens are protected.
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