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Viet Nam
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention and imminent deportation of Ms. Debbie Stothard

VNM 002 / 0918 / OBS 112

Arbitrary arrest / Release/

Obstacles to freedom of movement

9, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requestsyour urgent intervention in the following situation in Vietnam.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed byreliable sources about the arbitrary detention and imminent deportation of Ms. DebbieStothard, Secretary-General of FIDH and Coordinator of the AlternativeASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma).

According to theinformation received, on September 9, 2018, at approximately 3:00pm, Vietnameseimmigration authorities at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport barred Ms.Stothard from entering the country upon her arrival and detained her. Authoritiesjustified the restrictions by invoking Article 21(9) of the 2014 Law OnForeigners’ Entry Into, Exit From, Transit Through and Residence in Vietnam.Article 21(9) bars individuals from entering Vietnam “for national defense,security or social order and safety.”

Ms. Stothard was traveling to Vietnam in order to attend the World EconomicForum on ASEAN (WEF), which is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from September11 to 13, 2018. Ms. Stothard had been invited to speak at a panel discussion on“Innovation Under Stress”, scheduled for September 13, 2018.

Ms. Stothard wassubsequently informed that she would remain detained at Hanoi’s Noi Bai InternationalAirport overnight and be deported to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the morning ofSeptember 10, 2018. Ms. Stothard was not given access to a lawyer.

On September 6, 2018, WEFstaff members were informed by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister’s Office thatMs. Stothard had been blacklisted because of her human rights work.

TheObservatory strongly condemns Ms. Stothard’s detention and imminentdeportation, which seems aimed at punishing her for her legitimate human rightsactivities in the region.

TheObservatory also recalls that the United Nations Working Group on ArbitraryDetention (WGAD) has considered “arbitrary” the deprivation of liberty of humanrights defenders who seek to enter a third country to peacefully exercise theirrights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom ofassociation.[1]

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Vietnamasking them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Debbie Stothard and guarantee, in all circumstances, herfreedom of movement and that of all human rights defenders in Vietnam;

ii. Put an end to any harassment against all human rights defenders inVietnam, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out theirlegitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iii. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9,1998, in particular with Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect forhuman rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international humanrights standards and international instruments ratified by Vietnam.


  • Mr.Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Email:
  • Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Viet Nam, Email: Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-38231872 – 84-4-37992682, Email: Mr. Le Vinh Tan, Minister of Home Affairs of Vietnam, Fax: 84-4-39781005
  • Mr. Le Thanh Long, Minister of Justice of Vietnam, Fax: 84-4-38431431
  • Mr. To Lam, Minister of Public Security of Vietnam, Fax: 84-4-9420223
  • Mr. Mai Tien Dung, Minister, Office of the Government (OOG), Vietnam; Fax: 84-4-80 44130
  • Mr. Chi Dung Duong, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24; Email:
  • Mr. Vuong Thua Phong, Ambassador, Embassy of Vietnam in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 (0)2 374 93 76; Email: -

Please also write to the diplomatic representations ofVietnam in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva, September 9,2018

Kindly inform us of anyaction undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory forthe Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective ofthis programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against humanrights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanismimplemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory,call the emergency line:

· E-mail:

· Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 5518 80

· Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 4929

[1] On July 20, 2017, Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary ofthe Bangladeshi human rights NGO Odhikar, a member of the OMCT GeneralAssembly, and FIDH Vice-President, was deported back to Bangladesh after beingdetained for more than 14 hours by Malaysian Immigration at Kuala LumpurInternational Airport. In an opinion adopted on 20 November 2017, the WGADdeclared Mr. Khan’s detention arbitrary; also see: WGAD, Opinion No. 67/2017 concerning Adilur Rahman Khan (Malaysia), 7 December2017; UN Doc. A/HRC/WGAD/2017/67; and Observatory Urgent Appeal MYS 001 / 0717/ OBS 083.1 @font-face { font-family: Arial;}@font-face { font-family: "MS Mincho";}@font-face { font-family: OpenSymbol;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }h1 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; text-indent: 0cm; page-break-after: avoid; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; font-weight: normal; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 16.95pt; text-indent: -16.95pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoFooter, li.MsoFooter, div.MsoFooter { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.MsoFootnoteReference { vertical-align: super; }p.MsoBodyText, li.MsoBodyText, div.MsoBodyText { margin: 0cm 0cm 7pt; line-height: 120%; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }span.Titre1Car { }span.CorpsdetexteCar { }span.PieddepageCar { }span.En-tteCar { }p.ListParagraph1, li.ListParagraph1, div.ListParagraph1 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.NotedebasdepageCar { }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; }

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