October 2, 2008
Viet Tan welcomes the introduction of the Vietnam Human Rights Act in the Senate. Led by Senator Barbara Boxer, S. 3678 is a “bill to promote freedom, human rights, and the rule of law in Vietnam.” Similar legislation was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 414 to 3.
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March 2008, Viet Tan Chairman Diem H. Do urged Senators “to deepen America’s relationship with the Vietnamese people” by supporting the Vietnam Human Rights Act, speaking out against human rights abuses, and supporting democratic change. He stated: “The choice for American policy is not whether to isolate or engage Vietnam, but how to pursue the bilateral relationship in the most constructive way.”
In recent weeks, the government of Vietnam has launched a renewed crackdown against democracy activists, bloggers, and religious worshipers. Dieu Cay, a well-known blogger, was given a 30-month prison sentence for his writings. Many democracy activists including Nguyen Xuan Nghia, Pham Thanh Nghien, Pham Van Troi, and Ngo Quynh have been detained for their peaceful expression. Clergy and laity of the Thai Ha parish have been harrassed and intimidated for organizing peaceful prayer vigils for the return of confiscated Church properties.
The introduction of the Vietnam Human Rights Act during the final, hectic days of this legislative session demonstrates the strong concern of the Senate for the lack of political freedom in Vietnam.
We urge Senators who have yet to do so to co-sponsor S. 3678, laying the foundation for the passage of this important legislation in the next Congress.
Contact : Duy Hoang +1 (202) 470-1678