Viet Nam
Urgent Interventions

Release of woman human rights defender Dinh Thi Phuong Thao


VNM 002 / 1119 / OBS092.1
Release /

Obstacles to freedom of movement

15, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership ofFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received newinformation and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation inVietnam.


The Observatory has been informed byreliable sources about the release of Ms. Dinh Thi Phuong Thao, a 28-year-old Vietnamese human rights defender and pro-democracy activist, and the confiscation of herpassport.

According to the information received, atapproximately 5:00pm on November 15, 2019, Ms. Thao was released withoutcharges after several hours of interrogation at Hanoi International Airport.Her passport confiscated by the Vietnamese authorities.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Ms.Thao, but deplores the confiscation of her passport, which prevents her fromtravelling abroad to conduct human rights activities. The Observatory urges theVietnamese authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of movementof Ms. Thao, and to put an end to all acts of harassment against her.

Background information:

At approximately 9:30am on November 15, 2019,about 10 security officers from the Ministry of Public Security took Ms. Thaoto an interrogation room at Hanoi International Airport upon her arrival fromBangkok, Thailand.

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, foreign governments,as well as regional and international human rights NGOs in order to raise theinternational community’s awareness about the dire human rights situation inVietnam. From 2016 to September 2019, Ms. Thao worked with the Vietnamese humanrights NGO VOICE.


Please write to the authorities ofVietnam asking them to:

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

ii. Put an end to any harassmentagainst Ms. Thao and all human rights defenders in Vietnam, and ensure in allcircumstances their freedom of movement and that they are able to carry outtheir legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

iii. Conformto the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particularwith Articles 1, 5(c), and 12.2.

iv. Ensurein all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Vietnam.


· Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, President of Vietnam;

· Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam;

· 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

· Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations in Geneva,Switzerland; Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24, Email:

· Embassy of Vietnam in Brussels, Belgium; Fax: +32 (0)2 374 93 76,

Please also write to the diplomaticrepresentations of Vietnam in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva, November 15, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:


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

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