STATEMENT FROM A NETWORK OF VIETNAMESE BLOGGERS

24 Jul

VIETNAM SHOULD AMEND LAW TO DEMONSTRATE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CANDIDACY COMMITMENT

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.

As a candidate for the HRC for the 2014-2016 tenure, Vietnam must demonstrate its commitment to cooperating with the HRC and upholding “the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.

These obligations and responsibilities do not only apply on the international arena, but also inside Vietnam. The Vietnamese government also needs to review the human rights situation in their own country and the Vietnamese people also have a right to freedom of opinion and expression, including on these matters.

In order to improve the protection of human rights in Vietnam, we will take HRC’s principles as guidelines for our actions, which also comply with Vietnam’s obligations under international human rights law.

We will:

– Continue to promote and inform the Vietnamese people about their rights by publicly distributing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), organizing public forums to discuss human rights in Vietnam and advocating for necessary improvements of the respect and protection of human rights.

– Continue to monitor, publicly report and comment on improvement, setbacks, or violations of human rights in Vietnam, with a focus on policy and practice by the Vietnamese authorities that affect human rights.

In order to fulfill these responsible actions, we call upon the Vietnamese government and the HRC to review Article 258 of the 1999 Penal Code of Vietnam, amended in 2009 -“crime of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and citizens.”

In May 2013, two bloggers were detained right after they distributed the UDHR and police accused them of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State. Only weeks later,

two other bloggers were detained after participating an outdoor picnic to discuss the content of the UDHR.

Most recently, in May and June 2013, Article 258 was used to arrest blogger Truong Duy Nhat, Pham Viet Dao, and Dinh Nhat Uy forexercising their rights of freedom of expression by peacefully publishing texts on their blogs.

This article is in breach of the Article 19 of the UDHR: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

It would be a great responsibility to serve as a member state of the Human Rights Council, and an opportunity to promote human rights domestically and abroad. For a successful candidacy, we believe Vietnam must repeal or make amendments to Article 258 to ensure that Vietnamese people are free to educate themselves about and promote human rights.

We hope that Vietnam will consider the abrogation of Article 258 to demonstrate its commitment and contribution to promoting and protecting human rights, and we hope that the General Assembly members will push Vietnam to do so during the campaigning period.
We request Vietnam to present its human rights pledges as a candidate well before the election, to enable members of the General Assembly to assess its human rights commitment. The abrogation of Article 258 should be among the pledges.

As said by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General – “All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action.” As advocates for freedom of expression in Vietnam and victims of human rights violations because of our activism, we view Vietnam’s candidacy for the HRC as a platform for constructive human rights discussions in our country.

List of the first 69 Vietnamese bloggers signing the Statement

1. Võ Quốc Anh – Nha Trang
2. Phạm Lê Vương Các – Sài Gòn
3. Huỳnh Ngọc Chênh – Sài Gòn
4. Nguyễn Thảo Chi – Sài Gòn
5. Nguyễn Đắc Hải Di – Oslo, Na-uy
6. Lê Dũng – Hà Nội
7. Hoàng Văn Dũng – Sài Gòn
8. Nguyễn Văn Dũng – Hà Nội
9. Mai Xuân Dũng – Hà Nội
10. Trương Văn Dũng – Hà Nội
11. Ngô Nhật Đăng – Hà Nội
12. Nguyễn Chí Đức – Hà Nội
13. Phạm Văn Hải – Nha Trang
14. Hoàng Thu Hà – Hà Nội
15. Bùi Thị Minh Hằng – Vũng Tàu
16. Nguyễn Vũ Hiệp – Hà Nội
17. Vũ Sỹ Hoàng – Sài Gòn
18. Nguyễn Thị Hợi – Nam Định
19. Lê Anh Hùng – Quảng Trị
20. Trần Văn Huỳnh – Sài Gòn
21. Nguyễn Việt Hưng – Hà Nội
22. Đặng Thị Hường – Hà Nội
23. Nguyễn Xuân Kim – Nghệ An
24. Đặng Ngọc Lan – Hà Nội
25. Bùi Tuấn Lâm – Đà Nẵng
26. Nguyễn Thùy Linh – Hà Nội
27. Vũ Thị Thùy Linh – Hà Nội
28. Đào Trang Loan – Hà Nội
29. Lê Thăng Long – Sài Gòn
30. Nguyễn Tiến Nam – Yên Bái
31. Phạm Thanh Nghiên – Hải Phòng
32. Vũ Quốc Ngữ – Hà Nội
33. Đào Hữu Nghĩa Nhân – Sài Gòn
34. Bùi Thị Nhung – Ninh Bình
35. Lê Hồng Phong – Hà Nội
36. Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh – Nha Trang
37. Trương Minh Tam – Hà Nội
38. Hồ Đức Thành – Hà Nội
39. Nguyễn Hồ Nhật Thành – Sài Gòn
40. Phạm Văn Thành – Pháp
41. Nguyễn Lân Thắng – Hà Nội
42. Châu Văn Thi – Sài Gòn
43. Khổng Hy Thiêm – Nha Trang
44. Võ Trường Thiện – Nha Trang
45. Linh mục Giuse Đinh Hữu Thoại – Sài Gòn
46. Nguyễn Tường Thụy – Hà Nội
47. Trịnh Kim Tiến – Sài Gòn
48. Nguyễn Thành Tiến
49. Phạm Toàn – Hà Nội
50. Trịnh Văn Toàn – Hà Nội
51. Lê Thu Trà – Hà Nội
52. Nghiêm Ngọc Trai – Hà Nội
53. Phạm Đoan Trang – Hà Nội
54. Nguyễn Thu Trang – Hà Nội
55. Hoàng Đức Trọng – Sài Gòn
56. Phạm Văn Trội – Hà Nội
57. Hoàng Anh Trung – Hà Nội
58. Nguyễn Anh Tuấn – Đà Nẵng
59. Trịnh Anh Tuấn – Buôn Ma Thuột
60. Vũ Quốc Tú – Sài Gòn
61. Đặng Vũ Tùng – Zurich, Thụy Sĩ
62. Nguyễn Chí Tuyến – Hà Nội
63. Nguyễn Hoàng Vi – Sài Gòn
64. Nguyễn Văn Viên – Hà Nội
65. Bùi Quang Viễn – Sài Gòn
66. Lê Công Vinh – Vũng Tàu
67. J.B Nguyễn Hữu Vinh – Hà Nội
68. Đặng Tuấn Vũ – Hà Nội
69. Huỳnh Thục Vy – Quảng Nam

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