October 18, 2012
GARDEN GROVE, CA – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam today issued a statement in strong support of a worldwide campaign, “Million Hearts, One Voice”, launched by Saigon Broadcasting Television Network. Rep. Sanchez denounced the Vietnamese government’s relentless repression of peaceful activists and called for the immediate releases of all prisoners of conscience.
“I am honored to be a signatory of the “Million Hearts, One Voice” petition, calling on the international community to shine a light on the lack of human rights in Vietnam. I join the activist community to stand with bloggers Dieu Cay – Nguyen Van Hai, Ta Phong Tan, Paulus Le Son; labor activist Do Thi Minh Hanh, Father Nguyen Van Ly; Pastor Duong Kim Khai; land activist Tran Thi Thuy; song writer Viet Khang and countless other human rights activists who are unable to speak, act or defend themselves freely. These patriotic individuals helped champion workers’ rights, land grievers’ rights and advocated for freedoms of religion, opinion, speech and press.
“Today also marks the six-month anniversary since Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan, an American democracy activist was arrested at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Saigon by the Vietnamese authorities. After months of arbitrary detention, the Vietnamese government changed Dr. Nguyen’s crime from terrorism to subversion despite having no grounds for either of these accusations. In fact, almost all of the voices of conscience have been sentenced or face charges under Article 79, which penalizes “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” or Article 88, which penalizes “conducting propaganda against the State”. These vague national security provisions are ludicrous. Using articles 79 and 88 to arrest peaceful democracy advocates are blatant human rights violations.
“Behind all the gleaming new developments is a country that does not respect basic human rights, where the rule of law is nothing but an empty, unfulfilled promise.
“As the government of Vietnam continues to criminalize its citizens’ right to basic freedoms, it is a clear indication that it is not in the Vietnam authorities’ interests to be on the side of the people. I urge everyone to sign the “Million Hearts, One Voice” petition on www.democracyforvietnam.net/, as we continue to advocate for the rights and freedoms of the citizens of Vietnam.”