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Cablegate: Eu Characterizes Gvn Human Rights Dialogue As a "Major

VZCZCXRO2009
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #1202/01 1840934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030934Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5762
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH PRIORITY 3318
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0207
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001202

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND DRL/AWH

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

SUBJECT: EU CHARACTERIZES GVN HUMAN RIGHTS DIALOGUE AS A "MAJOR
DISAPPOINTMENT"

HANOI 00001202 001.2 OF 002

REFS:

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) In a meeting with Embassy PolOffs, Hanoi-based EU diplomats
lamented that its semi-annual human rights dialogue with the GVN,
held on June 28 in Hanoi, was "extremely disappointing" and
"superficial." Only Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officers
composed the GVN delegation, which the EU described as largely
unprepared and detached. A detailed EU presentation of its
57-person list of those imprisoned, detained or missing, which
focused on female persons of concern, largely fell on deaf ears. EU
representatives expressed concern that the GVN has a much different
perception of what freedom means and does not seem fazed by
arguments based on international law. The European Parliament is
reportedly drafting a human rights resolution on Vietnam. End
Summary.

GERMAN AMBASSADOR LEADS EU DELEGATION
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) On June 29, PolOffs met with Hanoi-based members of the
EU's delegation to the semi-annual EU-GVN Human Rights Dialogue,
which took place in Hanoi on June 28. German Ambassador to Vietnam
Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lortsch led the delegation, which was
composed of diplomats from several EU member missions in Hanoi.
(Note: Typically, the mid-year EU-Vietnam dialogue is attended only
by Hanoi-based EU diplomats; the end-of-year dialogue includes
representatives from Brussels and elsewhere. End Note.) The GVN
delegation was composed of 17 members of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MFA) and led by Le Hoai Trung, the Director General of the
MFA Department of International Organizations, which has
responsibility for human rights within the MFA. The agenda for this
year's dialogue focused on two primary areas, Freedom of Expression
and Persons of Concern.

GVN DELEGATION "UNPREPARED" AND UNCONCERNED
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) EU representatives described this year's dialogue as
"extremely disappointing" and "superficial." The GVN delegation was
"unprepared" and "not taking it seriously," although our colleagues
noted positively that this year's GVN delegation was "much less
aggressive" than in previous sessions. The EU representatives also
expressed great disappointment at learning a week before the
dialogue that the GVN would only be represented by the MFA, as they
had also requested additional participation, at a minimum, by
representatives of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). In sum,
the EU representatives told us that they were not able to make much
progress in discussions because the GVN simply "has a much different
perception of freedom than we do." They also remarked that a few
times during the talks, it seemed at times like members of the GVN
delegation were "laughing at us."

EU SUBMITS LIST OF 57 PERSONS OF CONCERN; FOCUSES ON WOMEN
--------------------------------------------- ----------

4. (SBU) On the issue of persons of concern, the EU delegation
presented a list to the GVN of 57 individuals, including those in
jail, missing or under house arrest. It centered its discussion on
currently detained and jailed female political activists, including
human rights lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan, journalist Tran Khai Thanh
Thuy, lawyer and democracy activist Bui Kim Thanh and Tran Thi Thuy
Tran (a lawyer associate of recently released NED fellow Le Quoc
Quan). The GVN's response was that the GVN is focused on stability
and that these individuals are all "lawbreakers." Some of our EU
counterparts expressed the opinion and concern to us that drawing
attention to individual cases of political prisoners could actually
hurt the individual's chance for an early release or, at least, give
the GVN another bargaining chip in future negotiations.

5. (SBU) Responding to the EU's presentation, the GVN
representatives said that Vietnam remains "very engaged" on human
rights issues, which the EU representatives explained to us was the
GVN's perennial "excuse" to ensure its continued stream of
international donor benefits. The GVN also cited an increased
number of petitions and complaints from the public regarding public
services; according to the GVN delegation members, this is a
demonstration of greater civic participation and "democracy" in the
running of the country, our EU colleagues said.

GVN NOT FAZED BY INTERNATIONAL LAW ARGUMENT
---------------------------------------------

HANOI 00001202 002.2 OF 002

6. (SBU) On the agenda item of freedom of expression, the EU
representatives focused their discussion on the lack of freedom of
the press in Vietnam and the limitations on and persecution of
journalists. They cited rights guaranteed under Vietnam's
constitution and its obligations under the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights. Here, the GVN representatives merely
recited the number of journalists who have permits to work and
disagreed with the premise that journalists are in any way
restricted.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT REPORTEDLY DRAFTING RESOLUTION
--------------------------------------------- ----

7. (SBU) Finally, the EU representatives noted to PolOffs that the
European Parliament is currently preparing a draft resolution on the
human rights situation in Vietnam.

MARINE

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