Vietnam Rights Activist Held Upon Return Home From UN Talks

By Joshua Lipes
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The 22nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council meets in Geneva on Feb. 25, 2013.
The 22nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council meets in Geneva on Feb. 25, 2013.

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City held activist Pham Le Vuong Cac for 24 hours and subjected him to “torture” upon his return from a U.N. meeting in Geneva which he had attended to voice concerns over Vietnam’s failure to implement pledges made to improve the country’s rights record.

Blogger Cac was part of a delegation which attended the talks on Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)—a process each U.N. member country undergoes every four years.

The delegation said in a statement that aside from Cac, who was detained by security police shortly after his flight landed in Vietnam’s largest city, other team members could also be punished for speaking up for greater human rights in the one-party communist state.

Cac was the second Vietnamese activist to have been detained and harassed this year for attending international meetings on Vietnam’s human rights record, the statement said.

“On 01 August 2014, one of our members, Pham Le Vuong Cac—a [Ho Chi Minh city]-based human rights defender—was detained and questioned at Tan Son Nhat International Airport by the security police upon his return to Vietnam,” the delegation said in the statement.

It said that Cac had landed at 12:20 a.m. and was detained shortly after, but that no notice had been given to his family and friends, who continued to wait for him at the airport’s security gate until late that night.

He was escorted home by police officers early the following day.

The delegation said that Cac’s 24-hour detention demonstrated “Vietnam’s pattern of neglecting its human rights obligations,” adding that it not only infringed on Vietnam’s laws, but also ignored international standards to which the country is bound.

“Cac’s rights as a citizen were violated because there was no issuance of either a notice or a decision by a responsible government agency to address this incident,” the statement said.

“Most significantly, the detention indicates signs of torture as the security police reportedly employed unlawful methods, including using threats during the extensive hours of questioning in order to extract information from Cac.”

Cac, an independent blogger and legal advocate, had been traveling since June with a delegation of activists representing 10 of Vietnam’s civil society organizations to raise awareness of the country’s human rights issues.

During his trip, he had met with representatives of U.N. working bodies, delegates from the EU, Polish and Czech foreign affairs officials and international human rights organizations to share his experiences as a rights advocate working in Vietnam.

Rights obligations

Vietnam became a member of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in January and underwent its second UPR in February.

As recently as June 20, under the UPR process, Vietnam accepted 182 of the 227 recommendations given by member states, including the responsibility to “give individuals, groups and organs of society the legitimacy and recognition to promote human rights and to express their opinions or dissent publicly.”

Vietnam came under criticism in February for the harassment and jailing of bloggers and government critics during its UPR, with Western nations calling on the country to respect freedom of expression.

But despite Hanoi’s pledge to uphold its rights commitments, authorities in Vietnam detained and questioned fellow activist Bui Tuan Lam for hours in February after returning to Ho Chi Minh City from Geneva for UPR-related activities. His passport was confiscated on grounds of “national security.”

“As the UPR provides that States must respect and facilitate civil society’s participation in the UPR process, Vietnam’s treatment of Lam and Cac are [evidence] of the big gap between the Vietnamese government’s statements in the international arena and its conduct at home,” the delegation statement said.

It also expressed concern over the personal security and freedom of movement of pro-democracy scholar Nguyen Quang A, who had joined Cac in the delegation to Geneva and returned to Hanoi on Aug. 3, saying that exit bans have been increased on Vietnamese activists to bar them from participating in international advocacy.

“The Vietnam UPR Delegation [is] concerned that other human rights activists will face similar or even more severe methods of repression in the future for their activities,” the statement said.

“In regards to the Vietnamese government’s obligations under both national and international laws, we request a termination of harassment on local human rights activists and due prosecution of those who are responsible for such misconduct.”

Comments (7)

Anonymous Reader

from Indonisia

Most of the time UN just come in and ask communist Vietcong to respect human rights. The Vietcong don't give a dime about UN . It's up to you living dead Vietnamese who never get up to fight for your own freedom. 100 millions of you living dead Vietnamese just let a few thousands communist thugs step on your heads everyday,because you enjoy being abused by those animals .When you gonna stand up for yourselves ?

Aug 12, 2014 07:56 PM

Anonymous Reader

UN just like another sect to calm people mind, have see any state on this planet to comply with UN declaration ???
Waste your time!

Aug 11, 2014 05:44 PM

Anonymous Reader

from Saigon

Why UN care so much about communist Viet .They have violated Human rights again and again for decades .They see other people as an object,not as human being . Communism is a religion that is inspired, directed and motivated by the Devil himself who has declared war against the good people.

Aug 10, 2014 10:16 AM

Anonymous Reader

<< Mr.Cac was detained and questioned at Tan Son Nhat International Airport by the security police upon his return to Vietnam,”
CS VN manipulates to give him an instruction and bribe him to report about CSVN conducting of people rights.
It is understandable that why VN has become member of UN Human rights body. The plague of CSVN corruption has spread through UN system.
If you don't believe , try to do report some case violation of Human rights in the country through person who work with UN Human rights organization in Vietnam, then you will learn how they respond << THAT CASE IS NOT HAPPEN OR IS NOT TRUE>>. Your report will fall into deaf ear.

Aug 08, 2014 10:18 AM

Anonymous Reader

To fight the fire you have to go to the fireplace. To fight the fire by asking a strange to close the firepit is stupid, spoiled and despicable.

The Criminal Vietcong Pigs (CVP) is the seat of fire and can be only fought if the fire has nothing to blaze up. As long as the CVP still get joining pigs they can't be fought. Also, it's up to the Vietnamese, not any God- or UN-organization.

The East German were able to tear down the wall, put an end of the Criminal Communistic reign. It wasn't the West German or any God- or UN-organization.

When will the Vietnamese learn to stand up on their OWN FEET?

Aug 08, 2014 09:54 AM

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