Event Title: Human Rights in
Sponsors: Congressional Human Rights Caucus
Location: 2237 Rayburn HOB
Date: September 14, 2006
Time: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Approximate number of Attendees: 100
Intern Attending: Ahreum Jung
Featured Speaker: Co chaired by Representative Loretta Sanchez, Representative Edward Royce and Representative Zoe Lofgren
Panel: Ms. Kathryn Porter, Leadership Council For Human Rights; Mr. T. Kumar, Amnesty International; Ms. Helen Ngo, Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam; Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bic, National Congress of Vietnamese Americans; Mr. Kok Ksor, Montagnard Foundation; Dr. Chan Dang-V, Viet Tan.
For the past several years, the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) appears to have followed a strategy of permitting various forms of personal and religious expression while selectively repressing individuals and organizations that it deems a threat to the party's monopoly on power. The VCP has reportedly cracked down harshly on anti-government protests by various ethnic minority groups, particularly the Montagnards of the country's
The State Department's 2005 report on human rights in Vietnam, released in March 2006, states that in 2005 the Vietnamese government "took steps to improve respect for human rights," granting amnesty to an unusually large number of prisoners, including several high-profile dissidents. However, there are continuous reports from human rights groups operating in
Also, the following major events are taking place in 2006 in
Ms. Kathryn Porter, of the Leadership Council for Human Rights, stressed that the
Mr. T. Kumar, of Amnesty International, expressed his concerns about restrictions on freedom of expression, continuing imprisonment of political prisoners, the application of the death penalty, the lack of independence in the judiciary, and the use of national security legislation and the criminal code to suppress criticism of the government. He made the following recommendations: (1) Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, (2) Ensure that all provisions in Internet laws and decrees comply with the Vietnamese Constitution, the ICCPR and Vietnam’s other international legal obligations, (3) Allow unfettered access to independent and impartial agencies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, on Freedom of Religion or Belief , and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, so that they can monitor and investigate allegations of human rights violations in the Central Highlands.
Ms. Helen Ngo, of the Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam, testified about violation of the religious freedom of Vietnamese government officials. For example, on August 18, 2003, the police broke into the house of Pastor Bui Van Ba at 161D/51 Lac Logn Quan, Ward 3, District 11,
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bic, the Executive Director of Boat People SOS, was not present, but sent a representative to speak on his behalf. The representative discussed cases in which numerous Vietnamese had been subject to arrest, harassment, confiscation, and persecution.
Mr. Kok Ksor, of the Montagnard Foundation, called on concerned embassies in Vietnam and the international community to do the following: (1) urgently pressure Vietnam to release all of the estimated 350 Degar Prisoners from Vietnam prisons, (2) pursue a permanent humanitarian presence in the Central Highlands to monitor the human rights situation by the UN, international agencies and international NGOs.
Dr. Chan Dang-V, of Viet Tan, said that