Dinh Thi Phuong Thao
Current Status: At risk
Other Names: Đinh Thảo, Đinh Thị Phương Thảo, Thảo Gạo
Date of Birth: April 8, 1991
Occupation: Medical professional
Areas of Activism:
- Human rights
- Police Brutality
- Green Trees
On November 15, 2019, Dinh Thao went back to Vietnam after nearly four years of capacity building and advocating for human rights for Vietnam across tens of countries around the world. Soon after she landed at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi at 9:30 am local time, she was taken into interrogation by a group of 10 security officials. Family and friends still have lost contact with her from that point on.
Update: She was released at 5 pm local time, after 8 hours of detention and interrogation.
Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.
Thao was born in Thai Nguyen, a northern province of Vietnam. Then she studied at and graduated from Hanoi Medical School as a general practitioner (2009-2015). However, she chose to be an activist in order to be more active in changing her society.
Thao became an activist in 2015, after being arrested for taking part in a series of protests against Hanoi authorities on their 6700-tree project to cut down a significant amount of trees.
After that event, with her fellow activists, she engaged in different pro-democracy and human rights activities, such as coordinating Green Trees (formerly known as VMHNX), coordinating the self-nominated national election campaign (February to March 2016), organizing a public event to advocate for environmental issues in Hanoi (14 January 2016), etc. She also supported victims of police brutality or wrongful death penalties.
She left Vietnam in March 2016 to attend a civil society training program at VOICE. After that, she worked at VOICE until going back to Vietnam (November 2019). During the time she stayed outside of Vietnam, she advocated for the human rights situation in Vietnam with different international stakeholders. In September 2017, she represented her fellow activists to speak in front of the UN Human Rights Council (Session 36) about the human rights situation in Vietnam. She has made many trips to advocate at the EU Parliament, Commission, and Council (July 2017 to January 2018), and some ministries of foreign affairs of some European countries, as well as having worked closely with human rights INGOs.
Thao is going back to Vietnam and facing great risks of her government’s reprisals, especially being interrogated while entering the country and having her passport confiscated. But if she is asked why she decided to go back, she would say: “I love my country more than I fear my government.”
Thao protesting in Hanoi to protect green trees (2015). Source: Thao Dinh
Being arrested for the first time during the 2015 protest. Source: Thao Dinh
VN bị chỉ trích tại Hội đồng Nhân quyền LHQ, RFA Vietnamese, March 12, 2013
Battered and bruised, Green campaigners vow to fight on, Vietnam Right Now, August 10, 2015
Activists released after scuffles with protesters, Vietnam Right Now, September 24, 2015
VOICE holds Vietnam accountable to human rights agreements on mid-term campaign, VOICE, October 20, 2017
One Year After Mother Mushroom’s Imprisonment, Signs of Hope in Vietnam, The Diplomat, June 29, 2018
November 15, 2019: detained and interrogated at the airport upon returning to Vietnam
- Property confiscation
- Police interrogation
- freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
- liberty and security of the person
- freedom of expression
- freedom of association
- freedom of movement
- The 88 Project
- Human Rights Foundation
- Human Rights Watch
- Amnesty International
On November 15, 2019, Dinh Thao went back to Vietnam after nearly four years of capacity building and advocating for human rights for Vietnam across tens of countries around the world. Soon after she landed at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi at 9:30 am local time, she was taken into interrogation by a group of 10 security officials. Family and friends lost contact with her from that point on.
Within a few hours of the news, international media and human rights organizations quickly condemned the detention and called for her release, including BBC Vietnamese, Amnesty International, FIDH, Human Rights Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and The 88 Project.
Thao was released at 5 pm local time, after eight hours of detention and interrogation, however her passport was confiscated.
BBC Vietnamese, Nhà hoạt động Đinh Thảo: Biết là sẽ gặp khó khăn 'nhưng vẫn phải về', November 15, 2019
FIDH, Vietnam: Arbitrary detention of woman human rights defender Dinh Thi Phuong Thao, November 15, 2019
Profile last updated: 2019-11-23 15:54:01