Vietnam: Mr. Le Cong DINH, Human Rights Lawyer | Letter

Re: Mr. Le Cong DINH, Human Rights Lawyer

To: President Nguyen Minh TRIET

From: Darlene D. R. Kavka, LRWC

Date: 2009-06-21

I am a member of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, an organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights and protection of those who defend them. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada wishes to add its voice to those of other Human Rights Organizations worldwide, who are calling on the authorities in Vietnam to effect the immediate, unconditional release of human rights lawyer, Le Cong Dinh. It is our belief Le Cong Dinh is being held solely as a result of his work in defence of human rights in Vietnam.

In addition to the release of Mr. Le Cong Dinh, we also call upon your government to do the following:

1. Conduct an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the arrest of Le Cong Dinh.

1. Ensure that the treatment of Le Cong Dinh, while in detention, 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;

2. Take all required measures to guarantee the physical and psychological protection, integrity and security of Le Cong Dinh, while he is detained and following his release.

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Vietnam are able to carry out their legitimate human rights based activities without fear of reprisals and, moreover, free of all restrictions including judicial or officially sanctioned harassment.

In support of our request we remind you that Vietnam has been a member state of the United Nations since the 20th of September 1977. For decades, Vietnam has championed itself as a nation committed to human rights and equality. Vietnam has the obligation and benefit of domestic laws respecting freedom of speech and protection of the public. Moreover, it has overlapping obligations to its citizenry as a United Nations member state. As such, the current detention of Mr. Le Cong Dinh, places your country in overlapping breaches of both domestic and international human rights related obligations.

I ask that you immediately comply with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and in particular:

a. Article 1, which states that, “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”,

b. Article 6(b), which states that “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.”

I also ask that you immediately mobilize to protect and defend Vietnam’s Constitution, given that it expressly prohibits the persecution and arbitrary detention of citizens such as Mr. Le Cong Dinh. Examples of excerpts from your Constitution are set out as follows:

a. Article 69 of the Vietnam Constitution states,

“[t]he citizen shall enjoy freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of the press, the right to be informed, and the right to assemble, form associations and hold demonstrations in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

b. Article 146 establishes the supremacy of the Constitution and states,

“[t]he Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the fundamental law of the State and has the highest legal effect. All other legal documents must conform to the Constitution.”

Finally, I ask that you respond to this letter by informing Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada of the current condition of Mr. Le Cong Dinh. As stated earlier in this letter, it is of grave and pressing concern to human rights defenders worldwide that this man be released from detention and that his safety be protected.