Sending Office: Honorable Christopher H. Smith
Cosponsors: Comstock, Sherman, Ros-Lehtinen, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Correa
The U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue will be held this week. It has been a particularly
bad year in Vietnam for human rights. Since the beginning of 2018 alone, the Vietnamese government has
handed out sentences totally over 100 years in prison and house arrest to human rights defenders and democracy advocates.
There are currently 169 political and religious prisoners in Vietnam, including bloggers, labor and democracy advocates, and religious leaders.
Freedom House rates Vietnam as “Not Free” with one of the world’s most restrictive legal, press and internet environments. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom again this year recommended that Vietnam be designated as a “Country of Particular
Concern” for egregious religious freedom abuses.
As the U.S.-Vietnam relationship grows, the Vietnamese government should not get a free pass on human rights. The freedom of religion, freedom of the press,
Internet Freedom, independent labor unions, the protection of women and girls from trafficking, and advances in the rule of law must be critical components of any U.S. led effort to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region. No governments that egregiously
abuses the freedoms of its citizens can be counted on as a reliable trade or security partner.
H.R. 5621, the
Vietnam Human Rights Act (VNHRA), is a bipartisan bill that passed three times in the House
with overwhelming margins, only to stall in the Senate. The bill puts human rights improvements and rule of law advances on equal footing to U.S. trade and security concerns. Passing the VNHRA again this year will send a message that
human rights must be a critical component of U.S.-Vietnam relations.
For more information about the bill or to cosponsor, contact Scott Flipse at 6-3777 or
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