60 Vietnamese American Organizations Urge Kamala Harris to Address the Deteriorating Human Rights Conditions in Vietnam

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With Vice President Kamala Harris’ upcoming trip to Vietnam, 60 Vietnamese American organizations have co-signed a letter emphasizing the importance of defending human rights. These groups represent a cross-section of pro-democracy, religious, media, and community organizations throughout the United States. 

Particularly during this pandemic, the Vietnamese American community recommends that vaccine distribution is equitable and free; freedom of speech and access to information are respected; and all political prisoners must be protected from COVID-19 and immediately released.

To view the English PDF of this letter, click here.
To view the Vietnamese PDF of this letter, click here.

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August 17, 2021

The Honorable Kamala Harris
The White House
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Vice President Harris,

Your trip to Southeast Asia comes at a vital time as several countries in that region are battling the worst outbreak of the pandemic since it started. 

The United States’ effort to provide safe vaccines to Vietnam will help increase the number of people who are vaccinated and reduce the spread of the virus. While we deeply appreciate this help and urge for more vaccines donated to Vietnam, such efforts must be matched with assurances that the vaccination is equitable and transparent. 

We also have grave concerns about the overall human rights situation in Vietnam.  During the pandemic, the Vietnamese government detained over 50 bloggers, journalists, and human rights defenders. At the beginning of 2021, three members of the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam were sentenced to long prison terms.

The United States has learned how quickly COVID-19 can spread, particularly in prisons. It is a humanitarian concern when the Vietnamese authorities are increasing the arrests of human rights defenders and placing them in unhygienic, confined places.

To make sure the US efforts to support vaccination in Vietnam can effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19, we strongly recommend that you urge the Vietnamese authorities to:

    • Ensure equitable and free distribution of vaccines. The vaccination program must be based on transparent criteria, prioritizing at-risk groups rather than those with political connections or ability to pay bribes.
    • Respect freedom of speech and access to information. Misinformation during a pandemic prolongs the recovery process, yet Vietnamese state media has not been forthcoming about how dangerous the conditions are in Vietnam. Doctors and volunteers have organized online to fill in the information gap. Their work should be respected and encouraged instead of being a cause for interrogation and arrest by the Vietnamese authorities.
    • Release citizen journalists and human rights defenders from prison. The continued detainment of prisoners of conscience runs counter to Vietnam’s stated commitment to respect international norms on human rights. In a pandemic, the safety of these activists is further threatened. The Vietnamese government must immediately release all political prisoners, including: Can Thi Theu, Chau Van Kham, Pastor Dinh Diem, Dinh Thi Thu Thuy, Do Nam Trung, Ho Duc Hoa, Huynh To Nga, Le Dinh Luong, Le Huu Minh Tuan, Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, Pham Chi Dung, Pham Doan Trang, Pham Thanh, Phan Van Thu, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Tran Thi Xuan, Pastor Y Yich.

 

As Vietnamese Americans, we applaud the Administration’s commitment to advance human rights. This is the opportunity for the United States to stand with the people of Vietnam, defend human rights, and demand the Vietnamese government uphold the fundamental freedom and rights of its citizens, especially during the pandemic.

Respectfully,

Nguyen Thanh Ha, Coordinating Chair
Assembly for Democracy in Viet Nam

Nguyen Tuong Thuoc, President
Association of Former Political Prisoners – New Jersey

Nguyen Quy, President
Association of Former Political Prisoners – Stockton, California

Nguyen Phi, Representative
Atlantic County Vietnamese Community Center – New Jersey

Tran Tuan Kiet, Organizing Chair
Benefit Concert for Vietnamese Patriots – Stockton, California 

The Venerable Thich Tri Vien
Boston Buddhist Temple

Nam Nguyen, CEO
Cali Today Multi-Media Network

Andrew Tu, PhD, Chairman
Champar Council Vietnam

The Venerable Thich Dang Phap
Chan Nguyen Monastery – California

Tan Tara Thach, PhD, Chairman
Council of Indigenous Peoples of Indochina

Reverend Cong Chinh Nguyen, President
The Council of the Ethnic Peoples and Religions of Vietnam (CPRVN)
Vietnamese People’s Evangelical Fellowship (VPEF)

Do Phu, Attorney
Do Phu & Anh Tuan, PLC

Chu Ba Yen, President
Florida Viet Bao Newspaper

Le Son, President
The Former Cadets of Dalat Political War College – Northeast Region of America

Paul Hanh Nguyen, President
Free Vietnamese Organization in Hawaii

Le Phuoc Lam, President
Gia Dinh Magazine – Florida

Reverend Tuy Trinh
The Great Way of the 3rd Amnesty Era Cao Dai Temple – Houston, Texas

Hoach Tran, President
Hoi Den Hung Foundation

Reverend Pham Van Chinh (retired)
Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Parish – Largo, Florida

The Venerable Thich Huyen Thien
Hue Minh Temple – Sacramento, California 

Nancy Bui, Vice President of External Affairs
Justice for Formosa’s Victims

Thach Thuon, PhD, Chairman
Khmer-Krom Council of Vietnam

The Venerable Thich Vien Phap
Kim Son Monastery – Watsonville, California

Nhan Hoang, President
Lien Hoi Cuu Chien Si San Diego

Lisa Lam, President
Little Saigon San Diego

Rong Nay, PhD, Executive Director
Montagnard Human Rights Organization

Y Siu Hlong, PhD, Chairman
Montagnard Vietnamese Community

Le Binh, Chief Editor/CEO
Nang Magazine – Northern California

Sophie Duong, Director
National Viet Radio

Pho Quoc Uy, President
Navy Association of the Republic of Vietnam – Orlando, Florida

Tuan Nguyen, President
Overseas Association of Cadets of South Vietnam Air Force’s Class of 72-74

Douglas H. Nguyen, Principal
Phu Dong Learning Center – San Jose, California

Thien L. Huynh, Anchor
Radio “Tieng Mo” – Northern California

David Bui, MD, President
Republic of Vietnam Veteran Association of Central Florida, Inc.

Truc Ho, CEO
SBTN, Inc

Nguyen Ngon, President
South Vietnam National Police Force Alumni Association in Massachusetts

Dan T. Hoang
Editor-in-Chief, “SJ Journal, Weekly”
Host, Viet Radio KSJX AM1500

Thuong Hoang, General Secretary
Thu Duc Officer Force – Northern California

Duc Ngo, Executive Chairman
TNT Radio Network

Pastor Y Hin Nie, President
United Montagnard Christian Church (UMCC)

Quang Nhu, Parishioner
Uu Dam Temple – Marina, California

Billy Nguyen, CEO
Vi Dan Media Network

Anne Ngoc Huynh, Program Director
Viet Radio on AM1500-SJ

Nguyen Si Tien, Editor
Viet Song Magazine, Florida

Nguyen Van Nhu, President
Republic of Vietnam Air Force Vets Association of Central Florida

Duong Dai Hai, PhD
President, Vietnam Federation of Labor in Oversea
Director, Peter Global Media Televisions

Binh Nguyen, MD, President
Vietnam for Progress

Pastor Nguyen Hoang Hoa, Co-Chair
Vietnam Interreligious Council

Vinnie Bao Toan Than, President
Vietnamese American Community of Massachusetts

La Cam Tu, President
Vietnamese American Community of Philadelphia

Dinh Pham, President
Vietnamese American Women Association

Quoc-Anh Tran, President
Vietnamese Community of Houston and Vicinities

Thao Duc Tu, President
Vietnamese Community of Oregon

Hien Duong, President
Vietnamese Community of New Jersey 

Ho Tram Xuan Thuong, President
Vietnamese Community of Pennsylvania 

Kim Trang Dang, President
Vietnamese Community of San Diego

Nguyen Tan Loc, President
Vietnamese Community of Tampa Bay

Long Nguyen, President
The Vietnamese Refugee Community of Los Angeles County

Nguyen Em, President
Vietnamese Seniors Association – Stockton, California

Duy Hoang, Spokesperson
Viet Tan

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