Ha Van Thanh
Current Status: At risk
Other Names: Hà Văn Thành
Date of Birth: 1982
Areas of Activism:
The US has rejected Ha Van Thanh's application for asylum and deported him back to Vietnam. Thanh feared arrest for his role in protests following the 2016 Formosa environmental disaster. Many others affiliated with the protests have been harassed or jailed. Despite presenting documents from the Vietnamese authorities requesting him for questioning on the protests and having evidence he'd been beaten by the Vietnamese authorities, Thanh's asylum request was denied. Thanh left Vietnam in May 2018 and journeyed through several countries before reaching the US.
Details - Background.
In February 2017, Ha Van Thanh protested injustices after the Formosa environmental disaster. He led marches and offered protections to the protesters and the priests. He was beaten and then watched by the police, and was summoned three times before he decided to flee abroad the avoid the arrests and imprisonment that his fellow protesters, Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong, had to endure.
May 12, 2018: political asylum request denied by the U.S.
- liberty and security of the person
- freedom of expression
- freedom of peaceful assembly
Environmental activist Ha Van Thanh is at risk of deportation back to Vietnam after trying to seek asylum in the US. His court case in the US is the culmination of an attempted asylum process that has taken him to seven different countries, starting in May 2018, after fellow protesters such as Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong were targeted by authorities in the wake of demonstrations against the Formosa company. Thanh has gone to court three times in the US, where his application for asylum was rejected and his appeal was denied. He is now set to be deported. At this point, government officials could intervene in Thanh's case, though his fate remains uncertain.
On June 12, 2019, four US members of congress, Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Lou Correa (CA-46), and Harley Rouda (CA-48) sent a letter to Chief Immigration Judge, MaryBeth Keller, to ask the judge to consider for another review of the case and for an “urgent approval” of Thanh’s asylum request, given Thanh’s history with local authorities.
On June 14, 2019, the same members of Congres sent a letter to the head of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to ask the agency "to immediately suspend the deportation of activist Ha Van Thanh."
Vietnamese Activist to be Deported From US After Seven-Country Asylum-Seeking Odyssey, Radio Free Asia, June 7, 2019
US Members of Congress, Letter to Chief Immigration Judge Regarding Ha Van Thanh, June 12, 2019 (PDF)
Bốn dân biểu Mỹ yêu cầu ngưng trục xuất nhà hoạt động Hà Văn Thành, Nguoi Viet, June 14, 2019
Trump administration might side with Vietnamese government on fate of protester, OC Register, August 22, 2019
Vietnamese Activist Loses Bid for Asylum, is Sent Home by US, Radio Free Asia, October 23, 2019
Profile last updated: 2019-10-28 15:23:35