Vietnam accused of crackdown ahead of UN rights probe

Vietnam accused of crackdown ahead of UN rights probe

ICC Note:

While Vietnam meets with 47-member-state forum in Geneva over its human rights record, Vietnamese exiles have accused the country of cracking down on dissidents and minorities. The concerns cited include: “Administrative detention, religious repression, crackdowns on human rights defenders, stifling of press freedom, widespread use of the death penalty.”

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5/7/09 Vietnam (Reuters) Vietnamese exiles backed by a major international human rights group accused Vietnam on Friday of cracking down on dissidents and minorities, and quashing press freedom and Internet access.
In a joint report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council, they demanded the release of political prisoners held under “vague national security provisions” of the law.

“Administrative detention, religious repression, crackdowns on human rights defenders, stifling of press freedom, widespread use of the death penalty are serious concerns,” said the report by the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) and Vietnam Committee on Human Rights.

Countries including China and Cuba are likely to defend Hanoi at the session, she said. Hundreds of Vietnamese exiles are set to gather for a large demonstration in Geneva coinciding with the rare U.N. scrutiny of their homeland.
“Cyber-police” in Vietnam track down the posting of banned material and block access to websites advocating human rights and democracy, the report said.

Repression on religious grounds was also described in the group’s report as widespread, despite freedom of religion being guaranteed in the constitution.
The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, effectively banned since 1981, and ethnic Montagnards — the mainly Christian tribespeople from the Central Highlands who sided with U.S. forces during the Vietnam War — are the main victims, it said.

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