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Viet Nam
15.11.19
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of woman human rights defender Dinh Thi Phuong Thao

VNM 002 / 1119 / OBS 092

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment /

Obstacles to freedom of movement

Vietnam

November 15, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Vietnam.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sourcesabout the arbitrary detention of Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Thao, a 28-year-oldVietnamese human rights defender and pro-democracy activist.

According to the information received, atapproximately 9:30am on November 15, 2019, about 10 security officers from theMinistry of Public Security took Ms. Thao to an interrogation room at HanoiInternational Airport upon her arrival from Bangkok, Thailand. At the time ofthe publication of this Urgent Appeal, it was not known on what charges Ms.Thao was being held. Ms. Thao had no access to a lawyer and was unable tocommunicate with her family members.

Ms. Thao returned to Vietnam after several yearsabroad campaigning for the improvement of Vietnam’s human rights record. Beforeleaving Vietnam in 2016, Ms. Thao had advocated for environmental protection inHanoi, supported victims of police brutality, and denounced the use of thedeath penalty. During her time abroad from 2016 to 2019, Ms. Thao engaged withvarious United Nations human rights mechanisms, European Union bodies, foreigngovernments, as well as regional andinternational human rights NGOs in order to raise the international community’sawareness about the dire human rights situation in Vietnam. From 2016 toSeptember 2019, Ms. Thao worked with the Vietnamese human rights NGO VOICE.

The Observatory strongly condemns Ms. Thao’s arbitrarydetention, which seems to be merely aimed at punishing her for her legitimatehuman rights activities, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.The Observatory also calls for an immediate end to all acts of harassmentagainst her.

Actions requested:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physicalintegrity and psychological well-being of Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Thao and of allhuman rights defenders in Vietnam.

ii. Release Ms. Thao immediately and unconditionallyas her detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at punishing her for her humanrights activities.

iii. Guarantee the access of Ms. Thao to herrelatives and a lawyer of her choice.

iv. Put an end to any harassment against all humanrights defenders in Vietnam, and ensure in all circumstances their freedom ofmovement and that they are able to carry out their legitimate activitieswithout any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

v. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration onHuman Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nationson December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1, 5(c), and 12.2.

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for humanrights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rightsstandards and international instruments ratified by Vietnam.

Addresses:

· Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, President of Vietnam; Email:webmaster@president.gov.vn
Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam; Email: nguoiphatngonchinhphu@chinhphu.vn

· Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam; Fax:84-4-38231872 – 84-4-37992682, Email: ttll.mfa@mofa.gov.vn

· 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

· Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland;Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24, Email: info@vnmission-ge.gov.vn

· Embassy of Vietnam in Brussels, Belgium; Fax: +32 (0)2 374 93 76, Email: vnemb.brussels@skynet.be

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

***
Paris-Geneva, November 15, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting thecode of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is toprevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDHand OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu,the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

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