Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Billboard raises issues of human rights in Viet Nam

A billboard campaign by a Houston-based Vietnamese human rights group condemns human rights violations occurring in Viet Nam, the Houston Chronicle reported on September 22. The image shows Father Nguyen Van Ly, a former “prisoner of conscience,” being muzzled by a plainclothes Vietnamese guard for speaking out against the Communist Party during a government trial on March 30.

The billboard campaign emerged because of concern that Viet Nam’s growing economy and new international standing is overshadowing human rights conditions. The country joined the World Trade Organization earlier this year.

Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, says that since Viet Nam joined the WTO, human rights violations have become worse in the country. The U.S. House of Representatives has condemned the recent repression in Viet Nam, and passed a bill to promote human rights there, although it remains to be seen if the Senate will pass it.

On the contrary, Cuong The Nguyen, press attaché for the Vietnam Embassy, says there have been talks about human rights between the United States and Viet Nam, and that “progression in human rights, freedom of religions, freedom of speech in Vietnam is an undeniable fact.”

For the full article, click here.

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