Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, March 03, 2006

Vietnam News Update

Vietnam ends talks with Australia one step closer to WTO

March 2, 2006

Vietnam has ended talks with Australia and is now closer to becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). After the Vietnamese Deputy Trade Minister Luong Van Tu and his Australian counterpart, David Spencer, signed an agreement yesterday in Hanoi, Vietnam took a big step in the direction of gaining WTO member status.

According to a report on Forbes.com via AFX:

“Analysts say the hardest part now for Vietnam is to convince Washington to sign a deal.”

“Vietnam wanted to join the WTO during its last ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December but could not finalise deals with its outstanding trade partners in time, especially with the United States.”

”Analysts have said the two countries would have to sign an agreement very soon to make it possible for the US Congress to vote early in the year and so avoid a potentially sensitive vote just a few months before November elections.”

Click here to read the article.

House Moves Human Rights, Democracy Legislation

March 1, 2006

The House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Human Rights moved ahead with legislation concerning human rights in Africa, East and Central Asia this week, considering measures on each region.

According to Voice of America:

“Action to advance the measures toward full House consideration reflects congressional concern about democracy and stability in Central Asia, human rights in Vietnam, and unhappiness about continuing suffering in Sudan's Darfur region.”

“[Republican] Congressman Chris Smith, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Human Rights, says Central Asian countries are moving in the wrong direction. "The bill provides for democracy and human rights programming and would require an annual presidential determination for assistance to each government that would examine five categories: democratization, free speech, freedom of religion, torture and the rule of law," he said.”
To read the full story click here.

Red Cross to Help Agent Orange Victims

March 2, 2006

VietNamNet reported that the Red Cross is working with Agent Orange/dioxin victims in the Central Highlands and southern Tay Ninh province. The project is scheduled to last from 2006 through 2010.

According to the report:

“The 16.3 billion VND project will help cover the expense of orthopedic surgeries and functional rehabilitation therapies for 1,520 poor AO victims, improve living conditions for 1,440 AO-affected families and provide wheelchairs for 1,550 disabled people.”

“Around 200 medical practitioners and Red Cross volunteers of the two beneficiary regions and patients' relatives will be trained on orthopedic and rehabilitation techniques needed to help the AO victims recover after surgeries.”

Click here for the full story.

Two Vietnamese Arrested at an Internet Café

March 1, 2006

Two Vietnamese men were interrogated for 6 hours because they where reading a banned Vietnamese-language website on democracy one of the men said on Wednesday. According to the men, police tied their hands and took pictures and filmed them to document their actions. They had to stay in the café for 3 hours before they were brought to the police station where the questioning continued.

According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur:

“Public security police moved in to the Internet cafe after Nguyen Khac Toan, who was released from prison in January, and his friend Do Nam Hai had successfully broken through the public Internet firewall for the Free Vietnam Alliance (Lien Minh Viet Nam Tu Do) website on Monday.”

“Toan, 50, was granted amnesty in January after serving three years of a 12-year prison sentence for espionage after he posted articles on the internet about public protests against the government seizing land for development. He remains under police surveillance for the next three years.”

”The chief of the Ngo Thi Nham municipal police station, Nguyen Viet Cuong, would not comment on the case and refused to confirm or deny whether the two dissidents had been at his station for questioning.”


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