|The Vietnamese delegation at the session announcing the results of the election of members to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2023 - 2025 tenure__Photo: Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN|
While Vietnam’s human rights achievements have won high evaluation from the international community in the recent past, wrongful and inaccurate information about the country’s human rights situation has appeared on the internet.
Recently, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court gave a three-year prison sentence to Hoang Thi Minh Hong, Director of the Centre of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE), for tax evasion. Meanwhile, the security agency for investigation under the Hanoi Department of Public Security officially launched a probe into and detained Ngo Thi To Nhien, Director of the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition Co. Ltd, on the charge of appropriating documents of agencies/organizations under Article 342 of the Penal Code.
According to the indictment read at the first-instance trial held by the HCM City People’s Court, from 2012 to 2022, CHANGE earned VND 69 billion (USD over 2.8 million) in revenue, but Hong ordered her employees not to issue value added tax (VAT) invoices or submit tax declarations in order to evade over VND 6.7 billion in taxes. Hong pleaded guilty at the trial and asked her family to return more than VND 3.5 billion in compensation.
Regarding the case of Ngo Thi To Nhien, two cadres of the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) group, namely Duong Duc Viet (senior specialist of the investment management committee of the EVN’s National Power Transmission Corporation) and Le Quoc Anh (head of the system analysis department of the Power Engineering Consulting 1 company), were also detained for providing Nhien with the documents related to the EVN’s grid development planning.
However, after the trial of Hong and the launch of the case of Nhien, wrongful and distorted information appeared, falsely accusing that the punishment against Hong, a famous environmental activist, is a demonstration of the suppression of environmentalists in Vietnam, and that such arrests are part of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s campaign to suppress civil society organizations in recent years.
Some groundless information even said there seems to be a political motive aimed at more widespread suppression of activists advocating land-related rights and the environment and called for urgent intervention.
The purpose of such stale allegations is to mislead the international and domestic communities about the human rights situation in Vietnam. In the name of “international human rights”, they released false statements on the situation in Vietnam in order to seek intervention into the country’s internal affairs. Their repeated ruse is to label those who commit criminal and economic offences as “human rights, democracy activists”, “religious activists”, or “environmental activists”.
Mentioning the case of Nhien, Viet, and Anh at the Government’s press meeting on September 30, Lt. Gen. To An Xo, Spokesman of the Ministry of Public Security, refuted the distortion that Vietnam had arrested environmental activists, describing this as an intervention in the country’s internal affairs.
He also affirmed that Vietnam does not arrest environmental activists.
|Lt. Gen. To An Xo, Spokesman of the Ministry of Public Security, addresses the Government’s press meeting on September 30.__Photo: baochinhphu.vn|
In Vietnam, all individuals and non-governmental associations and organizations are given conditions to operate normally in line with regulations and take responsibility for their activities before the law. Only those who break the law or commit crimes are arrested, investigated, and brought to trial. There are no such things as “arbitrarily detaining environmental activists” or “detaining dissidents” in Vietnam like some persons parroted in the name of certain organizations.
It is a fact that after 37 years of Doi moi (Renewal), by building and perfecting a law-governed socialist state of the people, by the people and for the people, and actively and proactively integrating into the world, Vietnam has obtained many significant achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights. The country has also pledged to implement the international conventions on human rights to which it is a party, and views this as a political and legal responsibility of the State.
Over the past years, Vietnam has also made active contributions to human rights promotion and protection in the region and the world, as seen in the high numbers of votes for its candidacy for a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council and non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
Therefore, the above mentioned wrongful arguments are just solidarity voices aiming to defame Vietnam and erode the prestige of the country’s Party and State in the international community’s eyes. The plot of the organizations and individuals speaking in support of lawbreakers is to intervene in Vietnam’s internal affairs. Such acts are the highest-level violations of human rights as well as an infringement of the right to self-determination of an independent and sovereign country.-(VNA/VLLF)