Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

House bill would condition aid to Viet Nam on respect for human rights

Legislation that passed the House 414-3 Tuesday ties future increases in U.S. non-humanitarian aid to Viet Nam with improvements to Hanoi’s human rights record, The Associated Press reported.

The legislation, if approved by the Senate, would prohibit any increase in non-humanitarian assistance to the country over current levels unless the Bush administration is able to show that Viet Nam has made significant progress in its human rights record, and that officials are not involved with human trafficking.

“Sadly, in recent months, the human rights situation in Vietnam has deteriorated and become substantially worse and a new ugly wave of brutal oppression has been launched by Hanoi,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the sponsor of the legislation.

He added that the people who signed a declaration outlining humanitarian and human rights aspirations for the country have been tracked down and jailed by the Vietnamese government.

The legislation would also provide $4 million over two years to help individuals and organizations promoting human rights and nonviolent democratic change in Viet Nam, as well as set aside $10.2 million for measures to stop Viet Nam’s jamming of Radio Free Asia.

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