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Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament Assembled PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vietnamese Canadian Federation   
Monday, 12 March 2012 23:18

 

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House to the 

following: 

 

THAT while the Government of Canada has spent $12 million over the last 6 years to train 

Vietnamese lawyers and judges, judges in Vietnam continue to hand out outrageous sentences to 

political dissidents who call for freedom and democracy.  This is due to the continued use of two 

vaguely defined articles, Articles 79 and 88 of the penal code, and the adoption or revision of 

various decrees to increasingly stifle freedom of expression. The broad and obscure provisions 

contained within these decrees are exploited by authorities in order to arbitrarily restrict 

legitimate speech of journalists and bloggers, and  detain those that advocate for human rights 

through the usage of the internet, newspapers, radio, etc.

 

THAT religious and ethnic minority oppression is an on-going issue of critical concern in 

Vietnam.  Violations such as the murder of dozens of Hmong Christians, the attacks on and plots 

to seize land of Thai Ha Parish, the attacks and torture at Con Dau parish, the attacks on Falun 

Gong practitioners, the conviction of the Mennonite Church pastors, the torture of Montagnard 

Christians, and the imprisonment of unsanctioned religious groups are daily infractions of Article 

18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The following people of ethnic minorities 

were given harsh sentences in 2010 and 2011: Kpa Sinh, 8 years; Rmah Hlach, 12 years; Siu 

Brom, 10 years; Siu Hlom, 12 years; Siu Koch, 10 years; Siu Nheo, 10 years; Rah Lan Blom, 

9 years; Rah Lan Mlih, 9 years; Ro Mah Klit, 8 years; Kpa Y Co, 4 years; Ksor Y Du, 6 

years; Ro Mah Pro, 9 years.

 

THAT freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human 

Rights, is severely curtailed in Vietnam.  The Communist Party of Vietnam continues to target 

internet users, bloggers, writers, journalists, and artists that oppose the party’s regime.  Those 

who advocate by peaceful means for freedom, suggest ways to improve education or any aspect 

of society, or disseminate original pro-democracy compositions such as songs or documents are 

imprisoned and falsely charged with undermining national unity, inciting terrorism, or plotting to 

overthrow the government. 

 

THAT the freedom of assembly, as featured in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human 

Rights, is also repeatedly denied.  Vietnamese citizens who participate in peaceful protests, such 

as those who demonstrate for land rights, are beaten on the spot and immediately arrested.   

THAT not only does the Vietnamese government blatantly violate the rights of its citizens, but it 

also conceals the efforts of those who advocate for human rights for citizens deprived of those 

freedoms; websites such as those of Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, etc. are 

blocked in Vietnam.  This is an affront to freedom to information, as the Internet is a wealth of 

knowledge, and it is an effort by the government of Vietnam to keep its citizens in the dark with 

regards to their rights and freedoms. 

 

THAT according to Human Rights Watch, over one hundred abusive forced labour facilities and 

“education centres” across Vietnam force detainees  into hard labour.  Their labour is either 

unpaid, or they are paid well below the Vietnamese  minimum wage, reducing their meager 3

wages even further by center-levied charges for food, accommodation, and “management fees,” 

and brutally punishing those who refuse to work.  Many political prisoners have similarly been 

subjected to forced labour, primarily breaking cashew shells for export – Vietnam is a leading 

exporter of cashew, a US $2 billion industry.

 

THAT Vietnamese citizens detained in prison, regardless of the reason for arrest, are subject to 

inhumane treatment and denied visit by family members, shackled, and held in solitary 

confinement.  Torture is commonly used during police interrogation, in detention centres, and in 

prisons.  There have been reported cases of death resulting from torture.

 

THAT in 2010, the Vietnamese government re-arrested  Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly

despite his worsening health conditions. 

 

THAT the Vietnamese government continues to put under house arrest the Most Venerable 

Thich Quang Do, the 84 year old Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, and Dr. 

Nguyen Dan Que, a prominent political dissident, simply because they called for democracy and 

freedom in Vietnam.  Both of them are Nobel Peace Prize nominees.   

 

THAT according to Human Rights Watch, in 2011 alone, the government prosecuted at least 33 

peaceful activists and sentenced them to a total of 185 years in prison, to be followed by a total 

of 75 years on probation on vague charges of “attempting to overthrow the government” or 

“spreading anti-government propaganda.”  Well-known cases of people imprisoned / arrested in 

2010 and 2011 include, among others: 

 

Bui Thi Minh Hang, land rights advocate, being detained without trial in an “education 

centre” with drug addicts for 2 years

Cao Van Tinh, land rights advocate, 5 years 

Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, legal expert, 7 years  

 Doan Huy Chuong (also known as Nguyen Tan Hoanh), worker, 7 years

 Do Thi Minh Hanh, workers, 7 years

 Duong Au, lands rights activist, 5 years

 Duong Kim Khai, pastor, 5 years

 Ho Thi Bich Khuong, writer, 5 years

 Le Cong Dinh, lawyer, 5 years

 Le Thang Long, engineer, 5 years

 Lu Van Bay, blogger, 4 years

 Nguyen Ba Dang, internet writer, detained without trial

 Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, worker, 9 years 

 Nguyen Ngoc Cuong, land rights activist, 7 years

 Nguyen Tien Trung, engineer, 7 years

 Nguyen Van Canh (also known as Tran Huu Canh), religious rights activist, 13  years  

Nguyen Van Hai, blogger (pen name:  Dieu Cay), held  incommunicado  past term of 

prison sentence

 Nguyen Van Lia, Hoa-Hao Buddhist activist, detained without trial

 Nguyen Van Khuong, journalist, arrested for uncovering police corruption

 Pham Thanh Nghien, worker, 4 years

 Pham Thi (Ngoc) Phuong, member of the Vietnam Populist Party, 11 years

 Pham Van Thong, land rights petitioner, 7 years 4

 Phan Thanh Hai, lawyer, blogger (pen name:  Anh Ba Saigon), detained without 

 trial

 Phung Quang Quyen, member of the Vietnam Populist Party, 4 years

 Phung Lam, prominent legal activist, 7 years

 Ta Phong Tan, blogger, abducted without official accusation, detained  

 without trial 

 Tran Anh Kim, former officer of the People’s Army, 5.5 years

 Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, engineer and columnist, 16 years  

 Tran Thi Thuy, farmer rights and Hoa-Hao Buddhist activist, 8 years

 Vi Duc Hoi, writer, 5 years

 

THAT recently, on December 23, 2011, Vietnamese authorities arrested a young, well-known 

songwriter, Vo Minh Tri (also known as Viet Khang), for writing patriotic songs.

THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon Parliament to:

 

1/ Request the Government of Canada to urge Vietnamese authorities to immediately and 

unconditionally release Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, songwriter Viet Khang, journalist

Nguyen Van Khuong,  and the people listed above, as well as other prisoners of conscience, and 

people under house arrest such as the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do and Dr. Nguyen Dan 

Que.  

 

2/ Request the Government of Canada to integrate universal human rights into trade and aid 

relations.  We request that Canada cease non-humanitarian assistance to the government of the 

Socialist Republic of Vietnam unless it ends its human rights abuses against its own citizens and 

respects every article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.    

 

3/ Request the Government of Canada to urge the Vietnamese government to repeal or modify

the vaguely defined articles, such as Articles 79 and 88 in the penal code, and various decrees 

that are used to criminalize citizens who peacefully advocate for their rights to live as human 

beings.   

 

We are writing this with the hope that the voice and actions of Canada, a country that puts 

the rights of people above all else, along with the those of the international community, 

would assure those who are promoting freedom and democracy in their homelands that 

they are not alone in their just struggle and that  their fundamental human rights are 

valued and upheld around the world.   

 

Committed to truth and accountability.