Greetings from The 88 Project! We are bringing you news, analysis, and actions regarding human rights and civil society in Vietnam during the week of April 8-14. Authorities have arrested another driver, Tran Dinh Sang, who has been active in protesting traffic issues, such as Build-Operate-Transfer tolls. Twelve of the 15 Bien Hoa City protesters imprisoned for protesting bills on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity in June 2018 have been released from prison after completing their prison sentences. This week, we remember the April 2018 ten — ten human rights and democracy activists sentenced to a combined 96 years in prison last April. Lawyer Vo An Don, who worked on Me Nam’s case, has been disbarred after a long legal battle. And a young student has refused to read a statement justifying the forced evictions in Loc Hung that affected him and many other families earlier this year. In international advocacy, read the latest report on the death penalty from Amnesty International, which puts Vietnam in the top five worst executioners during 2017-2018. And in the news, read about abuse against women in the garment sector in Vietnam and new cyberlaws across Asia. Coming up, we’ll be releasing our first episode of our interview series with female activists! Please take action for political prisoner Huynh Truong Ca, who is suffering from many health issues while in prison.
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HUMAN RIGHTS & CIVIL SOCIETY
2. Ho Cong Di
3. Diep Ut Tien
4. Doan Van Thuong
5. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lieu
6. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong
7. Nguyen Thi Truc Anh
8. Nguyen Thanh Toàn
9. Nguyen Thi Lan Anh
10. Pham Ngoc Huyen
11. Dinh Kha Ly
12. Nguyen Thi Truc Ly
Tran Nguyen Duy Quang and Pham Ngoc Hanh remain imprisoned.
This week, we remember the ten activists sentenced to a combined 96 years in prison in April 2018. A year later, seven of these ten activists remain in prison. They are from all parts of Vietnam, of all ages, and of varied backgrounds. They have been transferred to remote prisons, suffered from health ailments, had appeals of their sentences denied, and one was even allegedly forced to give false testimony against another activist. In this article, we update you on the some of the remaining prisoners’ current conditions and reflect on the human rights situation in Vietnam in the year since the trials. Anniversaries of the trials of three of the remaining seven political prisoners tried in April 2018 were this week. They are:
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Sick And Injured Inmates In Vietnam Face Inadequate Medical Treatment, Torture: “In 2014, prisoner of conscience Dinh Dang Dinh, a teacher, passed away shortly after his release from prison. Dinh maintained his innocence until the day he died. He was collecting signatures of residents in his hometown to protest the government’s plan to mine bauxite in the Highlands of Central Vietnam. Dinh was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to 6-year-imprisonment in 2013 for propagandizing against the state. When his health deteriorated, he received a pardon and an immediate release, but it was too late. His family alleged that the lack of proper medical care and the continued refusal to hospitalize Dinh during his incarceration contributed to his untimely passing.”
The road to gender reform in Vietnam is long but necessary: “In 2015 the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women raised concerns over the lower retirement age for women, the extensive list of prohibited occupations, discriminatory practices by employers based on maternity and pregnancy, the persistent gender wage gap, and the concentration of women in low-paid and unprotected jobs in the informal sector. The ILO raised similar concerns in the context of ratified conventions on non-discrimination. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 gender gap index, Vietnam rates 69 out of 144 countries. The situation is less encouraging on the ratio of economic participation and opportunity, with women in Vietnam having 26 percent less opportunity to earn than their male counterparts.”
Rise in Cyberlaws Across Southeast Asia Spell Bad News for Human Rights & Democracy: “Last year, Vietnamese legislators approved a cybersecurity law that tightens control of the internet. Having come into effect in January amid widespread protests that saw demonstrators being beaten and arrested last year, it gives the government sweeping powers to censor social media posts and the authority to force global technology companies operating in the country to hand over users’ data, which they have to store locally. Many of these laws are vaguely worded, are overbroad in their scope and are widely open to interpretation – and abuse. Vietnam’s new law, by way of example, stipulates that it is a crime to post material online that ‘offends the nation, the national flag, the national emblem, the national anthem, great people, leaders, notable people and national heroes’.”
Is being an activist more difficult if you are a woman? We’ll try to answer this question in our upcoming interview series with Vietnamese female activists. First episode coming soon! Click here for a preview.
Please take Amnesty International’s Urgent Action for political prisoner Huynh Truong Ca. He is battling several ailments while in prison, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and lung disease. Earlier in March, he was transferred to a new prison, which is farther away from his family. Ca, who is co-founder of the pro-democracy, constitutional rights group Hien Phap, was arrested in September 2018 and sentenced to five years and six months in prison.
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