UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Concerned about Increasing Violence against Vietnam Activists

A protestor attacked with tear gas in Ho Chi Minh City on May 8, 2016
A protestor attacked with tear gas in Ho Chi Minh City on May 8, 2016

[themify_box style=”blue, announcement, rounded” ]“We are concerned about the increasing levels of violence perpetrated against Vietnamese protesters expressing their anger over the mysterious mass deaths of fish along the country’s central coast. We call on the Government of Viet Nam to respect the right to freedom of assembly in line with its international human rights obligations,” said Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville.[/themify_box]

www.ohchr.org, May 13, 2016

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on May 13 has issued a statement to express its concern over the ongoing Vietnam’s intensified crackdown against local dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders.

“We are concerned about the increasing levels of violence perpetrated against Vietnamese protesters expressing their anger over the mysterious mass deaths of fish along the country’s central coast. We call on the Government of Viet Nam to respect the right to freedom of assembly in line with its international human rights obligations,” said Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville.

Last Sunday, authorities forcefully broke up demonstrations involving around 3,000 protesters in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Tear gas was used to disperse the protesters, and it was reported that about 300 people were beaten and arrested during the protests.

Some women and children were among those arrested and hurt. All of those detained have since been released.

The demonstrations followed smaller rallies on 1 May in the same cities. About a dozen people were hurt during the protests, which are a rare occurrence in Viet Nam.

Since April, tones of dead fish have washed ashore along a 200-km stretch of coastline in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hua provinces. Protesters accuse a Taiwanese steel plant of being behind the fish deaths. However, the government has said the fish deaths were the result of a toxic algae bloom.

We urge the Vietnamese authorities to adopt legal and institutional frameworks that protect against environmental harm that interferes with the enjoyment of human rights, and ensure that all the persons negatively affected, in this case fishermen, have access to effective remedies.