Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Release of Vietnamese activist ‘a rare bright spot’

The January 31 release of Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, a writer and pro-democracy campaigner, has been welcomed by Human Rights Watch, according to Intellasia News Online, but, “like dozens of other peaceful dissidents who’ve been imprisoned in Vietnam she should never have been arrested in the first place,” says Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia.

Viet Nam continues to crack down on dissidents, with 20 people jailed for conducting anti-government propaganda in 2007.

According to Richardson, the government has been emboldened to make more arrests since it joined the World Trade Organization in late 2006. “By granting Vietnam that trade status the world has really given away some of the most effective means of leverage it had over the Vietnamese government.”

However, there have been some signs of progress, including mass protests against the seizure of Catholic Church land. Richardson says that membership of opposition groups, including Block 8406, is now sufficiently widespread that it will be "challenging for the government to shut it down entirely."

For the full article, click here.


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