Friday, April 20, 2007
National Endowment for Democracy March 16: Ned Reagan-Fascell Fellow Le Quoc Quan Arrested after Return to Vietnam
Washington, DC -- The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is greatly troubled by the arrest in Vietnam of Le Quoc Quan. Le Quoc Quan, a lawyer, has recently been in residence at NED on a congressionally-funded Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship, pursuing independent research on the role of civil society in emerging democracies. He was arrested on March 8 in his hometown in Nghe An province, only 4 days after his return from Washington to Vietnam. At this time, Le Quoc Quan's whereabouts are unknown, and there are no public charges against him.
A top dissident Buddhist leader in Vietnam has spoken out against the detention in Ho Chi Minh City of a Norwegian woman who came to present him with a prestigious human rights award, amid signs of a tough new crackdown on dissent.
Catholic Online March 15: Catholic Priest's Arrest Highlights Furor over Vietnamese Rights Crackdown
The arrest of Father Nguyen Van Ly in February by Vietnamese police was denounced by members of Congress and several Vietnamese-American rights activists during a March 14 press conference at a House office building.
According to BosNewsLife, within the last week, police officers arrested lawyer Le Quoc Quan at his house in Nghe An province, Vietnam. He is still in police custody, but his whereabouts are unknown. Quan had just returned from Washington, DC, where as a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), he researched the theories and practices of civil society. NED serves as the Secretariat of the World Movement for Democracy. Some have suggested that Quan is being detained for his involvement in human rights issues. For years, he has spoken out against religious and human rights violations. His writings have appeared on the BBC and in various Vietnamese newspapers and Web sites.
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Hanoi, March 14, 2007
Congressman Smith March 14: Smith Calls on Vietnamese Government to Immediately Release Political Prisoners
Washington DC, March 14, 2007
Congressman will be introducing resolution in House to demand an immediate end to the human rights abuses in Vietnam
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem arrived in Washington, DC, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) held a press conference on Capitol Hill to demand that the Government of Vietnam immediately end their ongoing, unbridled human rights abuses and free all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
Lawmakers in U.S. Congress are condemning recent arrests and harassment of dissidents in Vietnam, saying they demonstrate that the government in Hanoi is not serious about pledges to improve human rights conditions. VOA's Dan Robinson reports, four Republican congressmen appeared at a Capitol Hill news conference with Vietnamese activists and pledged legislative steps and other actions in response.
A Christian pro-democracy activist was released by Vietnamese authorities Tuesday, March 13, after spending over 12 hours in police custody, but the whereabouts of a human rights lawyer remained unknown, dissidents told BosNewsLife.
Congresswoman Lofgren March 12: Rep. Lofgren Calls on Secretary Of State Rice to Address Human Rights during Vietnamese Visit to Washington
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem to Visit United States
March 12, 2007
Washington, DC – Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to insist that Vietnam make significant improvements in the protection of religious freedom, free speech, and other basic human rights. In a recent letter to Secretary of State Rice, Rep. Lofgren asked that the Secretary directly address these concerns with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem on their March 15, 2007 meeting in Washington, DC. Additional signatories to the letter include: Vietnam Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Tom Davis, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, and Rep. Chris Smith; and, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
In Vietnam, February and March are supposed to be a good time for relaxation, after the exuberant Lunar New Year.
More and more people are questioning the party's direction. But Vietnamese media have been absorbed since the end of January in a difficult and sensitive debate - over the leadership of the Communist Party, or rather a lack of it.
Communist Vietnam's state-controlled media on Friday denounced a "plot" by recently jailed dissidents to form oppositionpolitical parties and field candidates in upcoming National Assembly elections.
The report cited "unilateral and distorted information that failed to reflect the reality in Vietnam," Le Dzung said at a regular press briefing.
Vietnam respected and protected citizens' right to freedom of belief and religion, he said.
The Vietnamese government, emboldened by international recognition after joining the World Trade Organization and hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, is flouting its international commitments on human rights by launching one of the worst crackdowns on peaceful dissidents in 20 years, Human Rights Watch said today.
Committee to Protect Journalists, March 6: Government Crackdown Targets Press Freedom Advocates in Vietnam
Police arrested press freedom and democracy advocate Nguyen Van Dai and another human rights lawyer at their homes in Hanoi today for investigation under a criminal law that bans “propaganda against the government,” according to international news reports.