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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

Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Ignazio Corrao, Isabella Adinolfi on behalf of the EFDD Group

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

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


The European Parliament,

-having Regard to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights,


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


-having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders of 2008,


-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 EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed on 27 June 2012,


-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 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 Rules 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas in April 2016 a water pollution crisis, caused by the Formosa “marine life” disaster, affected Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên–Huế provinces in central Vietnam. Whereas this crisis was provoked by the discharge of cyanide, phenol, and other toxic waste into the ocean by a steel mill built by Taiwan’s Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation. Whereas the spill reportedly polluted more than 200 km of local waters, killing a large number of fish affecting tens of thousands of livelihoods;


B. Whereas this disaster sparked numerous protests demanding accountability for the damage caused;


C. Whereas on 6 February 2018, a court in the central province of Nghe An, Viet Nam, sentenced Hoang Duc Binh to 14 years in prison for blogging about protests regarding the Formosa “marine life” disaster;


D. Whereas also, Nguyen Nam Phong, a victim of the pollution disaster, 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;


E. Whereas last year, the blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, widely known as "Me Nam” (Mother Mushroom), was sentenced to 10 years in prison for her activities online including her reporting on a protest following the industrial toxic spill in Formosa;


F. Whereas according to the 2017 Report of CPJ, at least 10 journalists were held behind bars in Vietnam that year. Whereas all of them were jailed on anti-state charges related to their work;


G. Whereas on the 5th of April, six human rights defenders were sentenced each to between 7 and 15 years in prison followed by a period of house arrest: whereas at least 12 supporters of the aforementioned six human rights defenders, who were waiting outside the court during the day, were arrested and detained without charges;


H. Whereas there are many more cases of political prisoners detained and sentenced for merely expressing their right to freedom of expression as well as activists held in pre-trial detention;


I. Whereas the Article 79 of the 1999 penal code of Viet Nam - a vaguely worded provisions which encompass the possibility of the death sentence or life imprisonment - has being used more and more in recent years to charge and convict dissenting voices, mainly human rights defenders as well as to repress the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;


L. Whereas Viet Nam’s National Assembly has voted to pass a deeply repressive new cybersecurity law, which grants the government sweeping powers to limit online freedom. Whereas Viet Nam’s new Cybersecurity Law gives broad new powers to the Vietnamese authorities, allowing them to force technology companies to hand over potentially vast amounts of data, including personal information, and to censor users’ posts.


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


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


O. Whereas in March 2015, the EU Ombudsman pronounced the European Commission guilty of maladministration for refusing to conduct a Human Rights Impact Assessment prior to the negotiations of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement; whereas the Commission has refused to carry out this impact assessment in spite of the Ombudsman's ruling and in spite of the fact that three years passed between the political conclusion of negotiations and the signature of the agreement;


1. Calls on Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against prominent bloggers Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Hoa, religious activists Ngo Hao, Phan Van Thu, Tran Quan, Do Thi Hong, pastor Nguyen Trung Ton and pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, Buddhist dissident Thich Quang Do, labour rights activists Truong Minh Duc, Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, pro-democracy campaigners and 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 activists and campaigners Le Thanh Tung and Nguyen Bac Truyen; environmental activists Tran Thi Xuan, Le Dinh Luong, Ho Van Hai, and all others individuals imprisoned or detained under house arrest for peacefully exercising their basic rights;


2. Deplores the intensifying crackdown on human rights in Vietnam, in particular in the areas of freedom of expression, of association and of religion, and the intimidation, arrest and detention of human rights activists, lawyers and bloggers for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression;


3. Urges the Vietnamese Government to ensure the full respect of rule of law and of human rights and fundamental freedoms;


4. Condemns the continued use of loose provisions in Vietnam’s criminal and criminal procedure code to suppress dissent and jail peaceful activists; calls on Vietnam to repeal in particular articles 109, 116, 117, 118 and 331 of its penal code and article 74 and article 173 of the criminal procedure code, to ensure its legislation is in conformity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and to allow all people detained for any alleged violations, including national security related ones, to have immediate access to legal counsel upon being arrested.


5. Is deeply concerned about the imminent entry into force of Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law. Calls on the Vietnamese government to amend this law before its entrance into force, in order to bring it into full compliance with international human rights standards.


6. Urges the Vietnamese government to modify its Law on Access to Information and the Press Law in order to bring them in compliance with international human rights standards;


7. Calls on Vietnam to ensure the respect of freedom of religion, in conformity with international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); calls in particular on Vietnam to end harassment, arrests, prosecutions, imprisonment, and ill-treatment of people because they are followers of so-called “evil way” religions, and release anyone currently being held for peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of religion, belief, and association.


8. Urges Vietnam to issue a standing invitation to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to visit Vietnam, and grant them full and free access to all documents and parties they wish to consult;


9. Reiterates its condemnation of the death penalty in all circumstances; calls on Vietnam to halt all executions and to declare a moratorium on death penalty, with a view to its abolition;


10. Deplores that the European Commission refused to carry out a human rights impact assessment on the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, so contradicting the decision of the EU Ombudsman of 2015 as well as the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy;


11. Regrets that Vietnam has not yet ratified the 3 fundamental ILO Conventions specified in the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), namely Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, Convention 105 on the Abolition of Forced Labour, and Convention 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize. Calls on Vietnam to speed up its efforts to ratify such Conventions, and encourages the country to also ratify the 2014 Protocol to ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labour and all remaining ILO technical Conventions, and to cooperate fully with the ILO in the implementation of those conventions;


12. Stresses in this regard that this Parliament will not consider the ratification of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement until the ratification of the aforementioned ILO conventions No 87, 98 and 105;


13. Puts Vietnam on notice that the ratification of the EVFTA will be denied by this Parliament until political prisoner, activist and human rights defenders will be released, the aforementioned laws will be revised and bought in compliance with international human rights standards, and a moratorium on death penalty will be declared;


14. Urges therefore the Vietnamese government to immediately show concrete, genuine progress in the areas identified above, in particular by releasing political prisoners, announcing its intention to bring its legislation in conformity with the ICCPR, halting all executions and ratifying the ILO Conventions;


15. Calls on the EU, in particular DG Trade and the EEAS, and on all 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, and to articulate a series of benchmarks that the Vietnamese government should meet before the European Parliament’s vote on the EVFTA;


16. 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.


Viimane päevakajastamine: 13. november 2018
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