‘Police intervention’ cancels Ukrainian fundraising event in Hanoi

The event was to raise money for people whose lives have been upturned by Russia’s invasion.
2022.03.18
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Ukrainians hold a charity bazaar to raise funds and awareness about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the Ukrainian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 5, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Ukrainian Embassy in Vietnam/Facebook

Vietnamese police have prevented Ukrainians in Hanoi from holding a fundraiser on Saturday to help those affected by Russia’s attacks on the Eastern European nation, organizers said.

Event organizers planned to sell food and souvernirs and hold an art auction to raise money to send to Ukrainians affected by the war. They also arranged a musical performance to entertain visitors.

But authorities informed them on Friday that the event to be held at the Chula Fashion House in Nhat Tan ward, Tay Ho district, was cancelled because of “police intervention,” they said, providing no other details. The district is known for hosting small fashion shows and art exhibitions.

A Ukrainian who gave her name as Julia told RFA via text message that many people in her community are disappointed by the abrupt cancellation.

“We are very sad now as we have spent time and effort to prepare for the event,” she said. “It was expected to be a one-day event that many have been waiting for to learn more about our culture. We had prepared an exhibition, music, foods, as well as souvenirs. We did all these things in order to raise funds for people in need in our home country.”

Nguyen Duc Thi Hien, chief of staff of Nhat Tan Ward People’s Committee, said she did not know about the event and its cancellation, and referred RFA to “higher-level people.”

RFA could not reach Nhat Tan Police Chief Do Hong Quang for comment.

“We understand that we are not living in our own country,” Julia said. “Vietnam has its own laws and its own view on the situation in Ukraine. We cannot do anything to change this fact. We only hope that we will receive more support from local people and expatriates living here.”

Prior to the event cancellation, Human Rights Watch condemned Hanoi police and security forces for detaining many local residents to stop them from participating in a charity bazaar held by the Ukrainian Embassy on March 5.

Unlike many other nations, Vietnam has adhered to Moscow’s line of calling the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation.”

On Friday, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that there have been at least 2,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine, with 816 killed and 1,333 injured. OHCHR said it believes the actual figures are considerably higher because information from some locations where hostilities are intense have been delayed, and many reports are pending corroboration.

Vietnam is among 35 countries that on March 2 abstained from voting on a U.N. General Assembly’s resolution demanding that Russia immediately end its invasion and unconditionally withdraw its military forces. The measure passed 141-35 with a dozen member states not voting.

On Thursday, Bùi Thanh Son, Vietnam’s minister of Foreign Affairs, told his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, that the country supported international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine. He also said that Vietnam would
resume exchanges and cooperation with Ukraine after peace and stability had been restored, according to Vietnamese media reports.

Son said Vietnam believes international disputes and disagreements should be resolved through peaceful measures in compliance with U.N. policies and international law, especially with regard to respect for the independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states.

Son also spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday to urge the parties involved in the armed conflict to exercise restraint and work to find a long-term solution that takes into account the interests of both sides, other Vietnamese media reports said.

The Vietnamese foreign minister suggested that Moscow continue to organize humanitarian corridors and take measures to ensure the safety of civilians, including Vietnamese who live in Ukraine, as they evacuate war zones.

About 7,000 Vietnamese citizens live in Ukraine, according to Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry.

The former Soviet Union served as benefactor and ally to communist Vietnam after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it no longer subsidized poor developing countries like Vietnam, which had racked up billions of dollars in outstanding debt to Soviet Russia.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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