Krever 166 fanger satt fri i Vietnam. NÅ
En rekke mennesker er sperret inn i Vietnam for sin tros skyld, sine politiske synspunkters skyld eller for sitt etniske opphav. Nå krever vi fangene satt fri.
Stefanusalliansen stiller seg bak kampanjen «Release Vietnam Prisoneres of Conscience Now!» sammen med en rekke organisasjoner som arbeider i Vietnam eller driver aktivt arbeid for menneskerettigheter regionalt eller internasjonalt. Stefanusalliansens har prosjektpartnere i Vietnam og har hatt det siden 1991. Kampanjen ble lansert i forbindelse med det regionale toppmøtet i Vietnam 11. november.
Det er for tiden 166 kjente samvittighetsfanger i Vietnam. Menn og kvinner er arrestert av politiske eller religiøse grunner, for sitt etniske opphav, sitt kjønn, sin hudfarge eller andre grunner. Ingen av dem har brukt vold eller oppfordret til vold eller hat, heter det i oppropet.
Kampanjen vil rette søkelyset mot dette fenomenet og få slutt på fangenskapet for alle som fredelig utøver sine internasjonalt beskyttede rettigheter.
Også Christian Solidarity Worldwide er med på oppropet for å sette fangene fri.
Her kan du lese pressemeldingen fra «Release Vietnam Prisoneres of Conscience Now!»-kampanjen, på engelsk:
Coalition of human rights organizations launch NOW! Campaign calling on Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release 166 prisoners of conscience
11 November 2017
As world leaders arrive in Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum 11-12 November, a coalition of human rights organisations today launches the NOW! Campaign calling on the Vietnamese government to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience. The Campaign is a joint initiative by [number] organisations which focus their work on Vietnam or which campaign for human rights regionally or internationally.
As of November 2017, there are known 166 prisoners of conscience in Vietnam; men and women who have been arrested for their political, religious or conscientiously held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, colour, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status, who have not used violence or advocated violence or hatred. The NOW! Campaign seeks to call attention to this phenomenon and to campaign for the release of all prisoners of conscience and an end to arrests of men and women for the peaceful exercise of their internationally protected rights.
Information on prisoners of conscience in Vietnam is available on the NOW! Campaign website – www.vietnampocs.com – which will be updated when prisoners of conscience are released and when others are arrested. The NOW! Campaign seeks to engage the Vietnamese government in constructive dialogue towards the release of all prisoners of conscience and to lobby other governments to use their influence with their Vietnamese counterparts to call for releases and an end to arrests of people for exercising their internationally protected human rights. The NOW! Campaign also seeks to provide moral and material support to prisoners of conscience and their families. The NOW! Campaign website provides information on how individuals and organisations can support this initiative, including through donations to individual prisoners of conscience and their families.
Summary of findings
For the purposes the NOW! Campaign, an individual is deemed a prisoner of conscience where he/she is arrested for exercising his/her internationally protected human rights. Whereas Vietnam has undertaken to respect and protect a wide range of rights through its ratification of international treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 166 men and women have been targeted by the criminal justice system for peacefully exercising these rights and are currently in detention or imprisoned. These prisoners of conscience include bloggers, lawyers, trade unionists, land rights activists, political dissidents, and followers of non-registered religious communities.
The government’s near total control of media in Vietnam and the secrecy surrounding the arrests and jailing of certain prisoners of conscience, especially those from ethnic minority groups, mean that it is often difficult to find information about cases of prisoners of conscience and it is impossible to state definitively that all prisoners on conscience in the country have been identified. As such, the figure of 166 prisoners of conscience is not exhaustive and it is likely that there are others behind bars in Vietnam who are not accounted for on this list. Further, barriers to information in Vietnam mean that in 30 cases it has been possible for Boat People SOS to confirm only the identity of the individual in question; their gender and ethnicity; and the fact that he/she has been arrested and detained/imprisoned for exercising his/her rights. Of the remaining 136 cases, a greater level of information is publicly available permitting a detailed analysis of the profiles of those targeted, the articles they are charged under and the punishments they have been subjected to.
Of these cases, all are in pre-trial detention or prison, with the exception of Venerable Thich Quang Do, the patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam who is under “temple arrest”. 40 are detained pending trial; including 29 who were arrested in 2017, eight of whom are in detention since March but are yet to be charged. The six of the 136 who were convicted in 2017 received sentences totalling 41 years and six months’ imprisonment followed by 13 years’ house arrest.
In the 96 cases on the list for which we have information on sentencing, 94 are serving time-bound sentences. Together, these men and women are serving 946 years and one month in prison, followed by 209 years under house arrest. In other words, these prisoners of conscience are, between them, serving nearly one millennium in prison for exercising their internationally protected rights. This calculation does not take into take the time already spent behind bars by those in pre-trial detention, nor does it include the cases of Thich Quang Do, who appears to be under indefinite temple arrest, and Phan Van Thu, the founder of a minority Buddhist sect, An Dan Dai Dao, who is serving a life sentence.
13 of all 166 prisoners of conscience on the list are female. With one exception, all of these women come from the majority Kinh ethnic group. The one exception, Rmah Hruth, is an ethnic Jarai woman who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in March 2014. In total, 88 people, 53% are ethnic Kinh. The second largest ethnic grouping is Montagnard, a loose set of religious and ethnic minorities who live in the mountains of the Central Highlands. They account for 44% of the people on the list; 73 individuals. One individual is Khmer Krom. At the time of writing, the NOW! Campaign has yet to confirm the ethnicity of four of the 166.
For the most part, those on the list have been charged or convicted under Articles 79, 87 and 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code: 14 ethnic Kinh under Article 88, “conducting propaganda against the state”; and an additional 44 under Article 79, “plotting to overthrow the government”. While only one ethnic Kinh has been charged or convicted under Article 87, the Venerable Thich Quang Do in 1995, this article, which criminalises “undermining the unity policy [of Vietnam]”, accounts for the detention/imprisonment of 37 of the Montagnards included on the list.
Support the NOW! Campaign
In recent years, the United States and other foreign governments have negotiated the release of certain high profile prisoners of conscience. While releases are welcome, these men and women regained their liberty in exchange for agreeing to go into exile in the US or elsewhere. These conditioned releases treat the symptoms rather than the cause of a deep-seated problem which can only be cured with the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience in Vietnam and an end to arrests of people for the exercise of their internationally protected rights. To learn more about prisoners of conscience in Vietnam and to find out how you join the call for their immediate and unconditional release, visit our website www.vietnampocs.com