Hanoi must release Australian citizen falsely accused of terrorism

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2020

The Vietnamese government’s continued imprisonment of Chau Van Kham, a Sydney-based human rights activist and member of Viet Tan, is an affront to Australia and basic human rights.

Since January 2019, the Vietnamese government has arbitrarily detained Australian citizen Chau Van Kham and Vietnamese nationals Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen on trumped up national security charges. Initially accused of “activities attempting to overthrow the state,” the three human rights defenders were subsequently convicted to 10 to 12 years in prison for “terrorist activities against the state.” 

The Vietnamese authorities have failed to provide any evidence that the activists engaged in “terrorist” activities. Chau Van Kham, Nguyen Van Vien, and Tran Van Quyen have simply been targeted for their association with Viet Tan. This arbitrary action violates international human rights conventions to which Vietnam is a signatory.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) has repeatedly determined that the Vietnamese government violates basic human rights. In a ruling regarding Viet Tan member Nguyen Dang Minh Man, the UN human rights body stated: “Ms. Minh Man’s affiliation with Viet Tan falls within the right to freedom of association protected by Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Chau Van Kham is a dedicated human rights advocate and an active member of the Vietnamese community in Australia. He was arrested on January 13, 2019 while on a fact-finding trip in Vietnam.

Do Hoang Diem, chairman of Viet Tan, stated, “Chau Van Kham traveled to Vietnam to gain first-hand insight into the human rights situation in the country. Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen are peaceful activists. The Hanoi regime has invented the terrorism charge to criminalize human rights advocacy. In reality the communist leaders conduct state-sponsored terrorism against innocent Vietnamese — evidenced most recently by the violent crackdown against anti-corruption activists in Dong Tam.”

With members in Vietnam and around the world, Viet Tan advocates for social justice and democratic change through peaceful means.

Contact: Dr. Phong Nguyen +61 487 193 896

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