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 January 29-February 4. Tran Hoang Phuc, Vu Quang Thuan, and Nguyen Van Dien were sentenced to 6, 8, and 6.5 years in prison on January 31. One day later, Dr. Ho Van Hai was sentenced to four years in prison in an unannounced trial. Pastor Doan Van Dien has been released from police custody after more than a month of detention. Read Radio Free Asia’s interview with Vu Minh Khanh, Nguyen Van Dai’s wife, after her recent visit with him. In the news, read commentary about environmental reporting in Vietnam, the government’s reaction to increased activism, and new democracy and rule of law rankings for Vietnam. On February 6, environmental activists Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong face trial. On February 9, so do six Hoa Hao Buddhists. Take action and share Human Rights Watch’s appeal to free Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien, and Tran Hoang Phuc.
Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is around the corner. Please consider contributing to the Doan Ket Fund, a fund established by the NOW! Campaign to support prisoners of conscience in Vietnam and their families, to show solidarity with them during this most important holiday of the year.
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HUMAN RIGHTS & CIVIL SOCIETY
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Environmental reporting in Vietnam often a comedy of errors: “On the ground, this translates to heavily restricted access for journalists, cagey responses to questions, and absolutely zero interest from anyone involved in the government in talking to the press. Over the last year in particular, numerous citizen journalists have received lengthy prison sentences for writing about corruption and environmental abuses. Since starting as a Vietnam-based correspondent for Mongabay in 2016, I’ve come to rely on NGOs such as the WWF and Forest Trends for access to information and guides when in the field reporting. I quickly learned that emails to government ministries go unread.”
‘A crisis for human rights’: new index reveals global fall in basic justice: “The Philippines ranks among the worst performers in a region – East Asia and Pacific – where more than two-thirds of countries experienced a decrease in their overall rule of law score. Thailand and Vietnam also dropped significantly (seven places each), while Cambodia remains bottom of the region, and second bottom overall after Venezuela.” For the full World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, click here.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2017: “In China and Vietnam dissenters are locked up in large numbers and on a far bigger scale than anywhere else (Turkey’s recent clampdown on the media is comparable in its highly repressive treatment of journalists, who are accused of seeking to undermine or overthrow the president and the government).” Vietnam fell to a low 140 out of 167 with a total score of 3.08 (from a combined score including subcategories such as civil liberties and political culture) — its worst score since 2012. It’s ranked 25 out of 28 countries in the Asia & Australia category.
“Hostile forces” out to destroy Communist party: police: “The increased rhetoric about internal threats and subversion matches an escalating campaign to silence and imprison government critics, and the recent labelling of a second exile group in the United States as a terrorist organisation. Mr Trong has put much emphasis on ideological rectitude, following years of emphasis on growth and development, since his reappointment as general-secretary of the party in January 2016.”
Share Human Rights Watch’s press release demanding the Vietnamese government release and drop charges against Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien, and Tran Hoang Phuc.
Consider contributing to the Doan Ket Fund, a fund established by the NOW! Campaign to support prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. Doan Ket is Vietnamese for solidarity. All donations go directly and entirely to prisoners of conscience and their families or to individuals identified by the NOW! Campaign as at risk of arrest, detention, and imprisonment.