Burmese and Vietnamese Pro-democracy and Civil Society Organizations Call for Nguyen Van Dai’s Release

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January 22, 2016

As the Vietnamese Communist Party gathers for its 12th Party Congress while many of Vietnam’s human rights defenders remain jailed, we affirm that one-party authoritarian rule has no place in Vietnamese society or in the international community.

In the spirit of regional solidarity, Burmese and Vietnamese pro-democracy and civil society organizations have come together to call for the immediate release of prominent human rights lawyer and blogger Nguyen Van Dai and his colleague Le Thu Ha.

Nguyen Van Dai is a long-time advocate for a multi-party democracy in Vietnam. In an op-ed to the BBC, Dai wrote that “the path towards a multi-party system is the path that must be taken for Vietnam to develop and democratize. Multi-party provides the institutional mechanism for check and balance and prevents authoritarian regimes.”

Nguyen Van Dai founded the Center for Human Rights in Vietnam to promote civic empowerment with programs aimed at expanding legal networks and building capacity for future human rights defenders. In May 2013, Dai also founded the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group of mostly former jailed dissidents to peacefully co-ordinate mobilizing efforts throughout the country.

Attorney Nguyen Van Dai and Ms. Le Thu Ha were arrested on December 16, 2015 on charges of “conducting propaganda against the State” and are currently held incommunicado at detention center B14 in Hanoi. Both have been denied access to legal counsel and visitation rights. Prior to his arrest, Dai was subjected to prolonged surveillance and multiple instances of severe physical assaults. Dai was previously arrested in 2007 on the same charge and served a four year prison sentence.

Attorney Nguyen Van Dai’s work resonates with the many Vietnamese and Burmese who believe that basic rights such as freedoms of expression and association should be respected by their governments.

We, the undersigned, call on the international community, including ASEAN, to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thu Ha and all political prisoners. As a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Hanoi must respect the basic rights of the Vietnamese people.

Signatories
From Burma:
• Action Committee for Democracy Development
• Equality Myanmar
• Generation Wave
• Human Rights Defenders Forum
• Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
• Human Rights Defenders Myingyan
• Human Rights Educators Network
• Yangon Youth Network

From Vietnam:
• Association to Protect Freedom of Religion (Hội Bảo Vệ Quyền Tự Do Tôn Giáo)
• Bạch Đằng Giang Foundation
• Bau Bi Tuong Thaan Association (Hội Bầu Bí Tương Thân)
• Brotherhood for Democracy (Hội Anh Em Dân Chủ)
• Civil Society Forum (Diễn Đàn Xã Hội Dân Sự)
• Hoang Sa Football Club
• No-U Saigon
• People’s Intellect (Dân Trí Việt)
• Saigon Paper (Sài Gòn Báo)
• Uni ed Buddhist Church of Vietnam Congregation (Tăng Đoàn Giáo Hội Phật Giáo Việt Nam Thống Nhất)
• Viet Labor (Lao Động Việt)
• Vietnam Path Movement (Con Đường Việt Nam)
• Vietnam Political and Religious Prisoner Friendship Association (Hội Ái Hữu Tù Nhân Chính Trị và Tôn Giáo Việt Nam)
• Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (Hội Phụ Nữ Nhân Quyền Việt Nam)
• Viet Tan (Đảng Việt Tân)

PDF - 1.7 Mb
Letter for Nguyen Van Dai (English & Vietnamese).pdf
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