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Viet Nam
22.05.17
Urgent Interventions

Workshop banned, harassment of human rights defenders continues

Geneva,Paris, May 22, 2017: Vietnamese authorities must stop harassing human rightsdefenders and allow them to exercise their fundamental right to freedom ofexpression, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (anFIDH-OMCT partnership) said today.

“Itis unacceptable that Vietnamese authorities treat individuals who merely seekto improve their professional skills as dangerous criminals. Vietnam’srelentless crackdown on human rights defenders must end,”said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

Lastweek, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security prevented a workshop on informationmanagement from taking place in Hanoi and warned that if the participants wentahead with the event, there would be “serious consequences”. Approximately 20human rights defenders, bloggers, and independent journalists were expected toattend the workshop.

Onthe morning of May 20, 2017, police prevented several persons who were expectedto participate from leaving their homes in Hanoi and a large group of officerswere deployed just outside the workshop’s venue. As a result of the severerestrictions and serious risks faced by the participants, the organizersdecided to cancel the event.

“TheVietnamese Government must uphold its human rights obligations and ensure thathuman rights defenders are able to carry out their activities without hindrance. Vietnamese authorities should encourage,not criminalize, capacity building initiatives for their civil society, said OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock.

TheObservatory condemns the ongoing attacks, threats, and acts of harassment andintimidation against human rights defenders across Vietnam. The Observatoryurges the authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Vietnam.

Theright to freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 19 of the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 states that everyonehas the right to freedom of expression, which includes “freedom to seek,receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds […].” Vietnam is a Stateparty to the ICCPR.

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) wascreated in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to preventor remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH andOMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human RightsDefenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

For moreinformation, please contact:

• FIDH:Samuel Hanryon: +33 6 72 28 42 94 / Audrey Couprie: +33 6 48 05 91 57

OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39

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