The Socialist Republic of Vietnam does not belong in the UN Human Rights Council

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Statement by Duy Hoang, Executive Director of Viet Tan

Press Conference at the UN — October 3, 2022

Let’s start with the good news. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam wants to join the UN Human Rights Council. That means the Vietnamese government recognizes the importance of at least appearing to respect human rights.

According to their candidacy statement, the Hanoi regime “believes in the universality of human rights” and “attaches great importance to the adherence to and implementation of international treaties in protecting and promoting human rights in the country.”

The bad news is that the reality is quite the opposite in Vietnam. There are hundreds of known political prisoners who have been persecuted simply for exercising their basic human rights. Contrary to international treaties, the Hanoi regime has criminalized free expression and peaceful political advocacy.

Blogger Trinh Ba Tu is serving a 8-year prison sentence for so-called propaganda against the state. And while in prison, he has been beaten, shackled for days, and put under solitary confinement for protesting against prison conditions.

My colleague Le Dinh Luong, a community organizer and member of Viet Tan, is serving a 20-year prison sentence for “attempting to overthrow the state.” What he actually did was to raise public awareness about the Formosa environmental disaster and the threats to Vietnamese sovereignty from China.

I could list many more cases — which have been well documented by human rights groups — or mention the latest efforts by Hanoi to restrict social media accounts from covering the news.

The bottom line is the international community must reject the candidacy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Rogue states that trample on the basic rights of citizens do not belong in the Human Rights Council.

The Hanoi regime doesn’t seem to recognize that:

First, human rights matter. People should be able to speak their mind, worship as they wish, and choose their elected representatives.

Second, social progress and sustainable development cannot be achieved without the respect for worker rights, a free press, and a vibrant civil society.

Third, Vietnam has a fundamental interest in upholding the UN Charter and associated covenants. Just as international treaties have enshrined universal human rights, international laws also help guarantee the inviolability of national borders, the respect for maritime rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes among states.

So when the Hanoi regime flaunts international human rights, they harm not only the people of Vietnam, but also the interests of the Vietnamese nation and the international community.

Thank you for your attention.

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