Press release, May 26, 2020
In recent years, Vietnam’s communist regime has intensified persecution against the unsanctioned Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), a civil professional organization of independent writers working for freedom of press in Vietnam.
Since the Association was founded in 2014, the Vietnamese communist authorities have constantly harassed the Association and its members due to numerous articles posted on its website (vietnamthoibao.org) frankly criticizing the regime and its leaders for blatant violation of human rights and serious mistakes in the governance of the country.
The crackdown culminated in the arrests of the Association’s senior executives: Chairman Pham Chi Dung in November 2019, Vice Chairman Nguyen Tuong Thuy on May 23, 2020, and Mr. Pham Chi Thanh (Pham Thanh) two days earlier, all with charges of “conducting propaganda against the state” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code.
The Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders recognize that IJAVN and its members’ activities are fully consistent with Article 25 of Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution, Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, two of many international treaties on human rights that Vietnam has ratified.
Therefore, the Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders request the Vietnamese communist authorities to immediately drop the charges and unconditionally release Messrs. Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Pham Chi Thanh as well as hundreds of prisoners of conscience imprisoned for peacefully exercising their basic rights.
We call on Vietnamese compatriots in Vietnam and abroad to stand with and fully support the peaceful and righteous struggle of the prisoners of conscience. We also call on the international community to put pressure on Vietnamese authorities to abide by the international human rights laws they have signed.
Defend the Defenders Vietnam Human Rights Network
Vu Quoc Ngu Nguyen Ba Tung