On the occasion of the trip to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, human rights attorney Nguyen Thi Duong Ha (above) has sent a letter on prisoners of conscience in Vietnam to President Trump and Mrs. Melania Trump. She cited the case of her husband, democracy advocate Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu (right), formerly a Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, who was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to seven years in prison.
“If the imprisonment of citizens for expressing their views differently from the government is definitely a serious violation of human rights, the imprisonment of mothers who are raising children by exercising their right to freedom speech, undoubtedly, a hundred times more violent human rights violations,” she wrote, citing the cases of two prisoners of conscience:
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, (left) blogger Mother Mien (sentenced to 10 years imprisonment under Article 88 of the Penal Code), who has two children namely Mushroom, 11 years old and Bear, 5 years old, and Ms. Tran Thi Nga (sentenced to 9 years in prison under Article 88 of the Penal Code), who has two children, Phu, 7 and Tai, 4 years old.
Some observers suggest that the U.S. will be tempted to downplay human rights as it turns to Vietnam as a potential ally against China.
Nấm, the daughter of Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, also wrote to Melania Trump specifically asking her to “please help unite my family since I know my Mom did not do anything wrong and furthermore, you were the one to give her the “International Women of Courage” award.”
Writing in a separate open letter to Trump on Oct. 25, Thuy-Linh Pham, president of the Texas-based Federation of Vietnamese Au Co Women, noted the U.S. first lady’s role earlier this year in presenting an award in absentia to the jailed blogger, RFA adds. “On March 29, 2017, you presented the International Women of Courage Award to 13 extraordinary women at the U.S. State Department for their exceptional courage in advocating for peace, justice and human rights,” Pham wrote.
Vietnam should drop all charges and immediately release student blogger Phan Kim Khanh (above), Human Rights Watch said. Vietnam’s donors and regional leaders should make it clear that they will demand that all political prisoners be released before the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit taking place in Da Nang the week of November 6-11, the group added.