Re: The arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing of lawyer, Cu Huy Ha Vu
To: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Ambassador Duc Hung Nguyen, Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong
From: Darlene D. R. Kavka, LRWC Member
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LWRC) condemns the arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing of Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, a lawyer who has devoted his life to peaceful, legal activities and the promotion of cultural, environmental, civil and political rights in Vietnam.
LRWC believes that Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu was singled out for prosecution to prevent him from continuing his work as a lawyer in defence of human and environmental rights in Vietnam. In addition, Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu was denied due process and his fundamental human rights from the outset. He was denied adequate access to legal counsel and the right to a fair and public hearing, by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal. He is, by all reasonable accounts, a prisoner of conscience. Such actions by the government of Vietnam are repressive and lack legitimacy. Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu is not a criminal under the provisions of Vietnamese law despite his conviction and sentencing, as he has conducted his peaceful activities in conformity with the laws of Vietnam.
The conviction and seven year prison sentence given to Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu directly violate the human rights treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory. By participating in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Vietnam has endorsed fundamental principles concerning the support and protection of human rights defenders, including the following:
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
1. Each State has a prime responsibility and duty to protect, promote and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms, inter alia, by adopting such steps as may be necessary to create all conditions necessary in the social, economic, political and other fields, as well as the legal guarantees required to ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction, individually and in association with others, are able to enjoy all those rights and freedoms in practice.
2. Each State shall adopt such legislative, administrative and other steps as may be necessary to ensure that the rights and freedoms referred to in the present Declaration are effectively guaranteed.
(b), “…everyone has the right, individually and in association with others … to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession. Everyone who, as a result of his or her profession, can affect the human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of others should respect those rights and freedoms and comply with relevant national and international standards of occupational and professional conduct or ethics.
1. Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
2. The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
3. In this connection, everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by omission, attributable to States that result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The conviction and sentencing of Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu clearly violates the aforementioned principles. LRWC regrets that the government of Vietnam appears to be more concerned with dissuading its public from exercising free expression than it is of being exposed for systemic indifference to human rights in general and treaty obligations in particular.
In light of our concerns, LRWC seeks the following action from your government:
1. The prompt release of Cu Huy Ha Vu and an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into his arrest and conviction;
2. Assurances that the treatment of Cu Huy Ha Vu, while he remains incarcerated, adheres to all principles and conditions set out in the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;
3. That all measures be taken to guarantee the physical and psychological protection, integrity and security of Cu Huy Ha Vu, pending his release from prison;
4. That the conviction of Cu Huy Ha Vu be reversed and his good name be restored; and,
5. That in all the circumstances Cu Huy Ha Vu and other human rights defenders in Vietnam be permitted to continue in their legitimate human rights based activities without fear of reprisals and, moreover, that they be free of all restrictions including judicial or officially sanctioned persecution.
LRWC believes it is long overdue that the government of Vietnam release not only Cu Huy Ha Vu, but all such prisoners of conscience, unconditionally. Moreover, the litany of convictions that have been registered against each of them must be thrown out. LRWC urges the government of Vietnam to turn its efforts to ensuring that it abandons it systematic repression of free speech. Vietnam must honour its commitments and cease criminalizing the peaceful expression of political views.
LRWC thanks you for your attention to our concerns and requests to be advised of the current condition of Cu Huy Ha Vu and updated on what efforts are being made to reverse the injustice that has befallen him.