Human Rights Recap October 25th-November 8th

Violations of human rights and international law take center stage in this week’s recap. In a recent filing by the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law, Director Allen Weiner expressed concern over Vietnam’s violation of several articles of international law, including provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Director Weiner filed an update over the petition submitted to and ruled on by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) concerning the arrests/detentions of 16 activists in Vietnam. In 2013, in response to the petition, the UNWGAD found that the arrests and detentions of the activists were arbitrary, yet Vietnam still has 11 out of the 16 activists detained. Both those who are detained and those who have been released face ongoing violations of their human rights (harassment and surveillance are issues for many activists pre and post detention– read about one example, here).

The Standford update expressed much concern for the inhumane prison treatment of Dang Xuan Dieu, which violates Article 19 of the ICCPR. Vietnam must comply with its obligations under international law and the UNWGAD finding and release the activists and cease in interfering with their civil and political rights.

A recent announcement of charges against blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (also known as Anh Ba Sam) and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy also deal with application of the ICCPR and the UDHR. Radio Free Asia reports that the two will be charged under Article 258 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “abusing freedom and democracy.” They have been detained since May, and their arrests and detentions are in clear violation of international laws against arbitrary detention, as well as protections for freedom of expression. For more information about this case and Anh Ba Sam, click here.

Concerning news has also surfaced about the possible arrest of blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as Mother Mushroom. Co-founder of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, she fears that she will be arrested, as she has been questioned recently by police about her work on Facebook. The Committee to Protect Journalists has voiced concerns for her safety, and Mother Mushroom has made an international appeal for help to try to stop any impending arrest.

November 2nd was the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. We must remember that protections are needed for those who protect freedom of expression (journalists and other activists, too).  As activists risk their livelihoods and even their lives to bring freedom of expression– and other human rights– to their countries, we must make sure that protections afforded to them by international law are justly upheld. Blogger Dieu Cay, who was released from prison in Vietnam on October 21st, asserted in an interview with Radio Free Asia, that he will continue to work to bring about positive change in Vietnam.


November 29th is imprisoned activist Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s birthday. Read about him, here. We will be releasing a video about his case in the coming weeks, and we hope that you will share it with your friends and families this holiday season.

Speak up with the #ForFreedom campaign: read about arbitrarily detained human rights activists and send a message to world leaders to help raise awareness and press for action for their cases.

Take action with Front Line Defenders for activist Dang Xuan Dieu. He has been repeatedly dehumanized in prison, subject to beatings and deplorable living conditions, and is not allowed to see his family. He remains in prison despite the findings of the UNWGAD. Take action, here!

We are only days away from releasing our timeline of events in the struggle for freedom of expression in Vietnam. This tool is a compilation of arrests, trials, releases, and political and civil society actions over the past forty years. The goal of the timeline is to provide a variety of historical knowledge for our readers in one easy-to-access location. Please let us know if there’s anything particular you’d like to see on the timeline or if you have any events to submit. E-mail us at

To read more about the stories from their original sources, follow the links within the text (underlined).

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