Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Crackdown on dissent continues in Viet Nam

Viet Nam continues the harshest political crackdown in 20 years as public dissent continues increases, TIME Magazine reported Monday. In recent months, 12 human rights activists have been arrested for “spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic.” With 60 percent of the population under 30 years old, the Vietnamese government has opted for a more public crackdown against the pro-democracy movement over the subtler approach used in previous crackdowns.

Despite the crackdown, the government is apparently attempting to show citizens that the system is becoming more open and democratic following the May 20 National Assembly elections. With a growing economy, most criticisms of the political crackdown have come outside of the country. A recent Gallup International survey labeled Viet Nam the world’s most optimistic country, with 94 percent of urban residents positive about improvements in living standards in 2007.

However, even with 7 percent annual growth, Viet Nam can only progress so far without allowing peaceful criticisms of their system. So long as activists like Nguyen Van Dai, a prominent human rights lawyer, are imprisoned for speaking out against oppression, outrage can be expected from both the international community and the Vietnamese people.

In the 2007 Amnesty International country report, Viet Nam was criticized for an increase in harassment towards dissidents and religious and ethnic minorities. The report also denounced the ongoing crackdown: “The government crackdown on lawyers and housing rights activists intensified. Many human rights defenders were subjected to lengthy periods of arbitrary detention without charge, as well as harassment by the police or by local gangs apparently condoned by the police.”

For the full article, click here.

For the Amnesty 2007 country report, click here.

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