Human Rights Recap for February 22nd–March 7th, 2014
After well-known lawyer Le Quoc Quan’s sentence was upheld in Vietnamese court last month, neither pro-democracy activists nor the Vietnamese government are backing down.
Activists continue to campaign for his release and the release of others and for the fair treatment of print, online, and personal expression under Vietnamese law.
On the other hand, despite its election to the UN Human Rights Council, its recent showing at the Universal Periodic Review, and its countless pledges of reform, the Vietnamese government continues to persecute those who exercise their rights to freedom of expression.
On March 4th, the government sentenced blogger Truong Duy Nhat to two years in prison. He now joins the group of a reported 200 imprisoned dissidents—212 to be exact (reported by the International Federation for Human Rights, or FIDH). Even more activists are under house arrest or face constant surveillance and harassment.
It is also now clear that Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code, the law for which this project is named, is the most common law used to penalize Vietnamese citizens for creating “propaganda against the state.” Articles 79 and 258 are also used for this purpose. These laws are both vague in wording and strict in application.
You can help bring justice to Vietnam by simply staying informed. That is where we start. You can also urge others to take notice of the situation. PEN International is continuing to take action for Le Quoc Quan through its letter writing campaign. Additionally, FIDH has published 17 profiles of imprisoned activists that you can learn about and share with your community. Please continue to check back for updates on the situation.
To read more about these stories from their original sources, follow the links within the text.