Vietnam: Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay) | Letter

Re: Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay)

To: H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh; H.E. Mr. Tran Dai Quang; H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thai Binh; H.E. Mr. Ha Hung Cuong

From: Darlene D. R. Kavka, LRWC Member

Date: 2012-03-01

Lawyers’ Rights Watch, Canada (“LRWC”), is dedicated to the promotion of human rights and the vigorous defence of human rights advocates, worldwide. It is with grave concern that LRWC adds its voice to that of other international human rights organizations, calling on the government of Vietnam to immediately step in to protect the safety and well being of Mr. Nguyen Van Hai, also known as Dieu Cay (“Mr. Dieu Cay”).

LWRC has received credible reports to indicate that Mr. Dieu Cay, who is by all accounts a prisoner of conscience, has been the subject of enforced disappearance and possible amputation of a limb. Moreover, given the length of time he has not been in contact with his family, we have grave concerns that Mr. Dieu Cay may be gravely ill, if not deceased. He has been sequestered from family and denied access to legal representation for more than 16 months. The enforced disappearance of Mr. Dieu Cay, on the grounds of investigative detention is politically motivated, repressive and lacks legitimacy. The time frame of 16 months is also in excess of the four month limit permitted under domestic Vietnam law. Mr. Dieu Cay’s treatment is making a mockery of the human and legal rights treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Vietnam has been a member state of the United Nations since the 20th of September 1977. Since that time, Vietnam has promoted itself as a nation committed to human rights and equality. By participating in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Vietnam both endorsed and committed itself to the support foundational values including those reproduced below:

Article 1:

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,

Article 2:

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.

Article 6

(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.”

Article 11

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.

Article 12

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.

Mr. Dieu Cay has been singled out for prosecution and been denied his fundamental human rights from the outset. He is either a political prisoner or a casualty of Vietnam’s resistance to domestic freedom of speech and thought. In either event, the government of Vietnam has a duty to protect him.

We are disappointed that the government of Vietnam appears more concerned with dissuasion of its public from exercising free expression than it is of being exposed for its systemic indifference to both human rights and treaty obligations. On an individual human rights level, LRWC seeks the protection of Mr. Dieu Cay and the immediate restoration of his liberty, reunification with his family and that he be provided with immediate access to medical care.

LRWC seeks the following action from your government:

1. The prompt action to disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Dieu Cay and his immediate release and the immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into his illegitimate arrest and detention.

2. Assurances that the treatment of Mr. Dieu Cay, while he remains detained, 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 Mr. Dieu Cay, pending his release from prison.

4. That in all the circumstances Mr. Dieu Cay 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.

I repeat my earlier assertion that it is long overdue that the government of Vietnam release not only Mr. Dieu Cay, but all such prisoners of conscience, unconditionally. Moreover, the time has come to throw out the litany of convictions that have been registered against each of them. Please turn your efforts to ensuring that your government abandons it systematic repression of free speech. For Vietnam to have any credibility as a member of the international community it must honour its own word and follow through on its international commitments. To do this Vietnam must cease criminalizing the peaceful expression of political views.

It is of grave and pressing concern to human rights defenders worldwide that Mr. Dieu Cay, be released from detention and that his life and well being be protected. It is a legal and moral imperative that nation of Vietnam step forward without further delay to protect Mr. Dieu Cay. Failure to do so can only serve to damage Vietnam’s reputation as a signatory to United Nations human rights treaties and conventions.

I ask that you respond to this letter by informing LRWC of the current condition of Mr. Dieu Cay and an update on what efforts are being made to reverse the injustice that has befallen him.