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Cablegate: Eu, Canada Condemn Human Rights Situation

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RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0931/01 1410840
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210840Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5412
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3062
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0201
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0502
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0501
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0218
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0082
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2267
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0057
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 0056
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0271

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000931

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL/AWH

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL HUMANR PGOV PHUM VM

SUBJECT: EU, CANADA CONDEMN HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION

HANOI 00000931 001.2 OF 002


Summary
-------

1. (SBU) In recent days, the EU and Canada have issued statements
expressing concern about the human rights situation in Vietnam and
calling on the GVN to release all non-violent political prisoners.
The GVN rejected in familiar terms the EU's statement, noting that
Vietnam has always respected the freedoms of speech and democracy.
These statements are welcome additions to USG and other criticism of
the GVN crackdown on political dissent. We will continue to work
with our colleagues from other like-minded embassies to encourage
similar statements from their governments. End Summary.

EU, Canada Issue Statements
---------------------------

2. (SBU) In recent days, both the EU and Canada have issued
statements expressing concern about the human rights situation in
Vietnam (full texts of statements in paragraphs 6 and 7). The EU
statement, issued by the Germany Presidency on May 15, notes with
great concern the trials and sentencing of Father Nguyen Van Ly,
human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan and others.
It further calls on the GVN to release all non-violent political
prisoners and abide by the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, as well as Vietnam's own Constitution. According
to a senior colleauge at an EU-member embassy in Hanoi, "the French,
Germans and Swedes have been out in front on this one. We have them
to thank for this human rights statement, the last of which was in
2003."

3. (SBU) The Canadian statement, read May 18 by Deepak Obhrai, a
Canadian MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Foreign Minister,
calls the GVN's recent actions against dissidents violations of the
principles of freedom of expression and tolerance for peaceful
opposition. It also urges the GVN to release all political
prisoners and respect international standards of human rights.

GVN Responds
------------

4. (SBU) Responding to the EU's Statement, on May 16 Foreign
Ministry Spokesperson Le Dzung said that Vietnam is "disappointed"
with the statement regarding Vietnam's "treatment of a group of
recently convicted criminals...These people abused the right to
freedom in order to negatively affect national security, social
order and stability." Repeating virtually verbatim the language
used to reject U.S. Congressional and other criticism of Vietnam,
Dzung said that "the State of Vietnam has always respected the
rights to freedom and democracy, including the freedom of
speech...No one is arrested due to his or her political or religious
beliefs. Only those who have breached the law are punished in
accordance with the law."

Comment
-------

5. (SBU) The EU and Canadian statements are welcome additions to
USG, Congressional and other criticism of the GVN crackdown on
political dissent. We will continue to work with our colleagues
from like-minded embassies, including Australia, New Zealand, Norway
and Switzerland, to encourage similar statements from their
governments. End Comment.

6. (SBU) Begin text of EU Statement:

Declaration of the Presidency on Behalf of the European Union on the
Sentencing of Human Rights Defenders in Vietnam.

The EU has noted with great concern that several peaceful human
rights defenders have been arrested and given long prison sentences
on charges of "conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic
of Vietnam". On March 30, Father Nguyen Van Ly, Nguyen Phong and
Nguyen Binh Thanh were sentenced to eight, six and five years'
imprisonment respectively by the People's Court of Thua Thien Hue
Province. On May 10, Nguyen Bac Truyen, Huynh Nguyen Dao and Le
Nguyen Sang were sentenced to thre, four and five years'
imprisonment respectively by the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City.

HANOI 00000931 002.2 OF 002


On May 11 the People's Court of Hanoi sentenced lawyers Nguyen Van
Dai to five years' imprisonment plus four years' "administrative
probation" (house arrest) and Le Thi Cong Nhan to four years'
imprisonment plus three years' "administrative probation". On May
15, Tran Quoc Hien was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and two
years' "administrative probation" by the People's Court of Ho Chi
Minh City.

The EU reiterates its plea to the Government of Vietnam to release
all non-violent political activists who have simply exercised their
rights to freedom of expression and association as guaranteed in
article 69 of the Vietnamese Constitution and in articles 19 and 22
of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to
which Vietnam is a party.
The EU will continue its ongoing dialogue process with Vietnam, of
which the established EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue is an
integral part.

End text of EU Statement.

7. (SBU) Begin text of Canadian Statement

Mr. Speaker, over the past few months, Vietnam has been cracking
down on peaceful political activists. Since March 30, seven
Vietnamese activists have been found guilty in four trials and given
jail sentences ranging from three years to eight years for spreading
propaganda against the state.

These actions violate the principles of freedom of expression and
tolerance for peaceful opposition. Canada calls on the government of
Vietnam to release all political prisoners and to respect the
international standards for human rights to which it has freely
adhered. Vietnam has a duty as an ASEAN member country and an
increasingly engaged member of the international community to
respect these fundamental rights.

Canada urges the Vietnamese government to respect an individual's
right to a fair trial. The promotion and protection of human rights
forms the central part of Canada's relationship with Vietnam. Canada
will therefore continue to urge Vietnam to ensure that the right to
freedom of expression and due process are fully respected.

End text of Canadian Statement.

MARINE

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