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Motion for a resolution - B8-0685/2017Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Freedom of expression in Vietnam, notably the case of Nguyen Van Hoa

12.12.2017 - (2017/3001(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Ruža Tomašić, Monica Macovei, Angel Dzhambazki, Jana Žitňanská, Notis Marias, Branislav Škripek, Valdemar Tomaševski on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0685/2017

Procedure : 2017/3001(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Freedom of expression in Vietnam, notably the case of Nguyen Van Hoa


The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Vietnam,

-having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by Vietnam in 1982;

-having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by Vietnam in 2015,

-having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), signed between the European Union and Vietnam in June 2012,

-having regard to the 5th annual EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, held in Hanoi on 1 December 2017,

-having regard to the statement of 18 December 2015 by the Spokesperson of the High Representative / Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) on the arrest of lawyer Nguyen Van Dai,

-having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, of his mission to Viet Nam in July 2014,

-having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. Whereas on 27 November Nguyen Van Hoa, a Vietnamese blogger and activist, was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for having spread online information, including videos, on the environmental disaster in the Ha Tinh province that took place in April 2016, when a steel complex dumped toxins into the ocean with devastating environmental effects along 200 kilometres of coastline;

B. Whereas on 30 November, a Vietnamese court upheld the 10-year sentence of another blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh for anti-state propaganda after her posts critical of the government on the environment, politics and deaths in police custody;

C. Whereas in recent years there has been a steep rise in the number of detentions, arrests and sentencing of Vietnamese citizens related to freedom of expression and opinions on the basis of Article 88 of the Penal Code;

D. Whereas such repression targets all those who speak out for human rights, including bloggers, government critics, human rights defenders, members of “non-recognised” religions and social activists, and has led to a persistent pattern of arrests, harassment, physical assaults, surveillance and even detention in psychiatric institutions, perpetrated either by police officers or plain-clothed security agents and hired thugs;

E. whereas the UN Human Rights Office and international human rights mechanisms have repeatedly denounced article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, along with several other provisions of the Code, as being in breach of international human rights law;

F. Whereas freedom of religion or belief is repressed and the Catholic Church and non-recognised religions, such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, several Protestant churches as well as members from the ethno-religious Montagnard minority and others continue to suffer from severe religious persecution;

G. Whereas in April 2016 Vietnam adopted a Law on Access to Information and an amended Press Law which restricts freedom of expression and reinforces censorship, as well as regulations banning demonstrations outside Courts during trials; whereas the National Assembly is expected to pass a Law on Associations and a Law on Belief and Religion which are incompatible with international norms of freedom of association and freedom of religion or belief;

H. Whereas Vietnam is an important partner for the EU, in particular in the framework of EU-ASEAN relations, and this relationship is underpinned by a PCA which includes a section on human rights;


1. Urges the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release blogger Nguyen Van Hoa and all other prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam, including blogger and human rights defender Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh;

2. Expresses its concern about the rise in the number of detentions, arrests and sentencing of Vietnamese citizens related to the expression of their opinions and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to end arrests, prosecutions and convictions of men and women for their beliefs and peaceful advocacy for human rights;

3. Is concerned about Vietnam’s use of the death penalty for certain « national security » provisions, as prescribed in its amended Criminal Code, as it continues to hand out death sentences to an average of 100 persons each year;

4. Calls on the Vietnamese authorities to stop the use of vaguely worded provisions in Viet Nam’s Penal Code to criminalise human rights defenders and peaceful activists, in particular Article 88 (Conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam) and Article 79 (Activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration); as well as provisions such as “causing public disorder” (Article 245); “Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” (Article 258); “Resisting persons in the performance of their official duties (Article 257), which are also being used against activists;

5. Regrets that Vietnam has adopted a number of laws and regulations which criminalise the peaceful exercise of certain internationally recognized fundamental rights as also defined in for instance the ICCPR which Vietnam ratified in 1982, and empower the authorities to repress and detain with total impunity all those who seek to claim their rights;

6. Regrets that all mainstream media remain under control of the Communist Party, and that the amended Press Law does not provide for the establishment of independent press and media outlets in Vietnam; further urges compliance with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam is a party;

7. Denounces Vietnam’s policy of censorship and assault on freedom of expression and assembly, using persistent crackdowns, arrests and police brutality to create a climate of fear amongst all those who seek to speak freely or participate in public affairs;

8. Urges Vietnam to comply with its international human rights obligations to the United Nations by issuing a standing invitation to Special Procedures, in particular the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to visit Vietnam, and give them free and unfettered access to all parties they wish to consult;

9. Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to keep bringing these and other human rights concerns into their interactions with the Vietnamese government and authorities and to provide continuous assistance and support to families of imprisoned HRDs and prisoners of conscience.

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the UN, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Government and National Assembly of Vietnam.