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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Vietnam, notably the situation of political prisoners

13.11.2018 - (2018/2925(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

Barbara Lochbihler, Jordi Solé, Bodil Valero, Reinhard Bütikofer, Klaus Buchner, Michel Reimon, Ernest Urtasun on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0526/2018

Postup : 2018/2925(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Vietnam, notably the situation of political prisoners


The European Parliament,

-Having regard to its previous resolutions, notably the one of 14 December 2017 on freedom of expression in Vietnam, notably the case of Nguyen Van Hoa, and of 9 June 2016 on Vietnam, in particular freedom of expression;


-having regard to the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed on 27 June 2012,


-having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,


-having regard to the statement of UN experts of 23 February 2018, urging the release of activists jailed for protesting toxic spill, and of 12 April 2018, calling for change after jailing of rights defenders;


-having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,


-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam acceded in 1982,


-having regard to the decision of the European Ombudsman of 26 February 2016 in case 1409/2014/MHZ on the European Commission’s failure to carry out a prior human rights impact assessment of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement,


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


A. Whereas there are currently 159 activists serving a prison sentence in Vietnam and 16 activists held in pre-trial detention;


B. 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 peaceful assembly; whereas many human rights defenders and critics of the government remain detained without trial;


C. Whereas Hoang Duc Binh was sentenced to 14 years of prison for blogging about protests regarding the Formosa disaster; whereas Nguyen Nam Phong was sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly refusing to obey orders of public officials while driving to a protest; whereas their efforts have been key to raise awareness and ensure accountability in relation to the spill of the Formosa Steel plant;


D. Whereas in April 2018, seven members of the Brotherhood for Democracy were found guilty of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” and given lengthy prison sentences; whereas in September 2018 Nguyen Trung Truc, another member of this group, was sentenced to 12 years of prison for “trying to overthrow the state”; whereas there are many more cases of human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience detained and sentenced for merely expressing their right to freedom of expression;


E. Whereas in the 2014 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) the Government of Vietnam accepted among others the recommendation to modify its Criminal Code; whereas despite this, the amending of the Criminal Code in January 2018 failed to remove the vaguely worded “national security” provisions that have been used to criminalise human rights defenders and critics of the government, and added instead an additional “national security” crime which carries the death penalty;


F. 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;


G. Whereas the new Law on Cybersecurity which will enter into force in January 2019 gives the government power to monitor the online activity of Vietnamese citizens and requires social media platforms to remove content deemed “offensive” by the government within 24 hours; whereas a military cyber unit has been set up under the Ministry of Defence to fight “wrongful views” on the internet; whereas these measures are used to denounce online critics, launch smear campaigns against them and manipulate public opinion;


H. whereas Vietnam ranks 175 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2018;


I. whereas the Vietnamese Constitution provides for closed trials in “special cases” to protect “state secrets” or the “fine customs and traditions of the nation”, definitions which are regularly invoke to hold trials of human rights defenders behind closed doors;


J. Whereas death penalty is still applied in the country but the number of executions is unknown, since Vietnamese authorities classify death penalty statistics as a state secret; whereas Vietnam reduced the number of crimes punishable by death from 22 to 18 in January 2018;


K. whereas EU-Vietnam relations are founded on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which considers human rights as an essential element of the agreement and which provides for suspension of the bilateral cooperation instruments, including bilateral trade preferences, in case of serious and systematic violations;


1. Deeply deplores the worsening climate for human rights defenders and journalists in Vietnam and condemns all acts of violence, politically motivated charges, arbitrary detention, use of intrusive surveillance, harassment, sentences and convictions in respect to these individuals;


2. Calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Hoa, labour rights activists Truong Minh Duc, Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, pro-democracy activists Ho Duc Hoa, Tran Anh Kim, Nguyen Trung Truc, Nguyen Dang Minh Man and Nguyen Viet Dung, land rights activist Nguyen Van Tuc, human rights defenders Le Thanh Tung and Nguyen Bac Truyen and environmental activists Tran Thi Xuan, Le Dinh Luong, Ho Van Hai and all other human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience detained and sentenced for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to drop all charges against them;


3. Calls on the Vietnamese Government to ensure the full respect of rule of law and of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which includes fully complying with the constitutional provisions on freedom of association and expression; strongly condemns the use of vaguely worded provisions in Vietnamese laws to criminalise human rights defenders; in this regard, urges the Vietnamese government to modify its Criminal Code, its Law on Cyber Security, the Law on Access to Information and the Press Law in order to bring them in compliance with international human rights standards;


4. Calls on Vietnam to urgently ratify the ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, the Convention 105 on the Abolition of Forced Labour, and Convention 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize;


5. Urges Vietnam to issue a standing invitation to United Nations 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;


6. Calls on the Vietnamese authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards abolition; calls for a review of all death sentences to ensure that these trials adhered to international standards;


7. Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to support civil society groups and individuals defending human rights in Vietnam in an active manner, including by calling for the release of the human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in all contacts they hold with Vietnamese authorities; urges the EU Delegation in Hanoi to provide all appropriate support to the imprisoned human rights defenders, including through arranging prison visits, trial monitoring and the provision of legal assistance;


8. Calls on EU member states to intensify their efforts to press for concrete human rights improvements in Vietnam, including during the upcoming UPR review of Vietnam at the UN Human Rights Council;


9. Deplores the refusal of the European Commission to carry out a human rights impact assessment on the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, which contradicts the decision of the EU Ombudsman of 2015 as well as the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy;


10. Calls upon Vietnam to ensure the respect for human rights, as these are core elements for the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and for the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement; insists that it is essential that the EU articulates a series of human rights benchmarks that Vietnam should meet before the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is submitted to the Parliament for approval;


11. Stresses in this regard that this Parliament will not consider the ratification of the Free trade agreement until concrete human rights benchmarks are met, including the release of those who are being held solely for expressing peaceful dissent, the revision of the Criminal Code, the Law on Cyber Security and the Law on Belief and Religion to bring them in compliance with international human rights standards, the recognition of independent labour unions and the ratification of ILO conventions No 87, 98 and 105;


12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Government and National Assembly of Vietnam.


Posledná úprava: 13. novembra 2018
Právne upozornenie - Politika ochrany súkromia