UN Human Rights Office concerned by arrests of three activists in Viet Nam
BANGKOK (22 November 2016) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia expressed serious concern on Monday about the arrests of three Vietnamese human rights activists in Ho Chi Minh City over the past three weeks, and called for their immediate release from detention.
The UN Human Rights Office said it was also deeply concerned by reports that the activists, who have been held incommunicado in line with Vietnamese law for so-called National Security offences, have been subjected to torture.
Mr. Ho Van Hai, a prominent blogger, was arrested on 3 November for allegedly distributing â€œpropaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Namâ€. He has been officially charged under article 88 of the Penal Code which carries a sentence of between three and 20 years of imprisonment.
On 6 November, Mr. Luu Van Vinh and Mr. Nguyen Van Duc Do, who have recently established the â€œCoalition of Self-determined Vietnamese Peoplesâ€, an organisation aimed at promoting multi-party democracy and human rights, were arrested. On 17 November, they were charged under article 79 of the Penal Code for conducting â€œactivities aimed at overthrowing the peopleâ€™s administrationâ€. The charge carries a sentence of between 12 years and life imprisonment or capital punishment.
â€œThese two penal provisions, along with other similar articles dealing with so-called National Security offences, run contrary to international human rights standards and should be repealed,â€ said Laurent Meillan, the acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia. â€œViet Nam should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of torture".
The Regional Office further called for the unconditional release of the three human rights defenders.
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The Regional Office for South-East Asia in Bangkok represents the High Commissioner for Human Rights within South East Asia. The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations and heads the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts.