Friday, May 4, 2007

Wall Street Journal May 4: Memo to Hanoi

May 4, 2007

Memo to Hanoi

A Catholic priest who has already spent over 13 years in prison is rearrested and sentenced to eight more years for serving as an advisor to a democracy movement and a new political party. A woman, whose husband had recently been released from jail after serving time for spreading pro-democracy material, is hit by a car -- believed to be driven and occupied by plainclothes police officers -- in an effort to intimidate her and prevent her from meeting with the U.S. Ambassador. A lawyer who travels to the U.S. to serve as a Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy is arrested within a week of his return home, and charged with engaging in activities aimed at overthrowing the government.

While these stories sound like they were lifted from the files of the KGB, they are, in reality, all events that have recently taken place in Vietnam.

US House Resolution May 1: Calling on Vietnam to Immediately and Unconditionally Release Political Prisioners and Prisoners of Conscience

Washington D.C., May 1, 2007

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Vietnam has long been known as a major violator of human rights. The U.S. House of Representatives went on record in the 109th Congress condemning and deploring the violations of human rights in Vietnam and strongly urging the Vietnamese Government to consider the implications of its human rights abuses for the broader relationship between the United States and Vietnam.

Congressman Smith May 2: House Passes Smith’s Resolution Calling for Human Rights Reform in Vietnam

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2007

In response to a recent, well-orchestrated campaign of political suppression and intimidation by the Government of Vietnam, the U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed a resolution authored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that calls for an immediate release of all political prisoners and substantial human rights reforms in Vietnam.
“H. Res. 243 is intended to send a critical and timely message to the Vietnamese Government that these serious violations of basic human rights are unacceptable and bring profound dishonor on the government of Vietnam. These human rights violations cannot be overlooked or continue without equally serious consequences,” Smith said yesterday on floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.