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B9-0079/2021
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    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Human rights situation in Vietnam, in particular the case of human rights journalists Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan

    19.1.2021 - (2021/2507(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 144 of the Rules of Procedure

    Kati Piri, Marianne Vind
    on behalf of the S&D Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0077/2021

    NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
    Procedūra : 2021/2507(RSP)
    Dokumenta lietošanas cikls sēdē
    Dokumenta lietošanas cikls :  
    B9-0079/2021
    Iesniegtie teksti :
    B9-0079/2021
    Balsojumi :
    Pieņemtie teksti :

    B9‑0079/2021

    European Parliament resolution on Human rights situation in Vietnam, in particular the case of human rights journalists Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan

    (2021/2507(RSP))

    The European Parliament,

      having regard to its previous resolutions of 15 November 2018 on the situation of political

      prisoners, 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 regarding freedom of

      expression,

     

    – having regard to its previous resolution of 12 February 2020 on the draft Council decision on

      the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist

       Republic of Viet Nam,

     

    – having regard to the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and

      Cooperation (PCA) of 27 June 2012, which entered into force in October 2016,

     

    – having regard to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade of 30 June 2019, which entered into force on 1

      August 2020,

     

    – having regard to the EU-Vietnam Annual Dialogue of 19 February 2020,

     

    – having regard to the 10th EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue of 19 February 2020,

     

    – having regard to the letter of 29 November 2019 by the European Parliament President Mr

      David Sassoli to the Vietnamese Prime Minister H.E. Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc,

     

    – having regard to the statements by the Spokesperson of the EEAS of 6 January 2021 on the

       sentencing of Mr Pham Chi Dung, Mr Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Mr Le Huu Minh Tuan,

     

    – having regard to the Message by the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam in regard

      to the decision of the court of appeal of Hi Chi Minh City to uphold the heavy sentences

      handed down to the members of the Hiên Pháp Group of 12 January 2021,

     

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

     

    – having regard to the Vietnamese Constitution, and notably to article 25 thereof on freedom

       of expression,

     

    – having regard to the UN Human Rights Committee third periodic report on Viet Nam

      (CCPR/C/VNM/3) of 11 and 12 March 2019 and to the Concluding observations thereon of

       29 August 2019,

     

     – having regard to the statement by the UN OHCHR of 8 January 2021 on Vietnam and the

      “increasing clampdown on the freedom of expression in the country”,

     

     – having regard to the Joint Allegation Letter by UN Special Procedures of 17 September 2020

      to the Vietnam Government,

     

    – having regard to the International covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the UN

      General Assembly on 16 December 1966 and to which Viet Nam is a state party,

     

    – having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

      adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966 and to which Viet Nam is a

      state party,

     

    – having regard to the ILO/Better Work Report 2019,

     

    – having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

     

    – having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

     

    A.  whereas Vietnamese authorities continue to imprison, detain, harass and intimidate human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, human rights lawyers and civil society activists in the country; whereas human rights defenders face long prison sentences for their human rights work and for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression, either online or offline; whereas such limitations on the freedom of expression are in direct contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in particular of article 19 thereof;

     

    B.  whereas according to the Database of Persecuted Activists in Vietnam, compiled by The 88 Project, an estimated 253 activists are serving prison sentences in Vietnam, a sharp 58% increase compared to 2018, and around 228 activists have suffered various types of harassment by the authorities, such as physical attacks, interrogation, administrative fines, forced eviction, and passport denial, have been sentenced to probation, or have been released from a prison sentence but remain under surveillance,

     

    C. whereas political and human rights activists face harsh conditions in detention, including denial of access to medical care, legal counsel and family contact, and are often subject to thug violence, torture, or other ill-treatment; whereas their often speed-light trials do not meet basic standards of impartiality, fairness, and independence of courts; whereas confessions are regularly extracted under duress and televised;

     

    D.  whereas on January 5, 2021, the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City found Mr Pham Chi Dung, Mr Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Mr Le Huu Minh Tuan guilty of “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code; whereas Mr Pham Chi Dung was sentenced to 15 years in prison and three years’ house arrest, and Mr Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Mr Le Huu Minh Tuan were each sentenced to 11 years in prison and three years’ house arrest.

     

    E. whereas Mr Pham Chi Dung is a human rights defender and founder of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) advocating for freedom of press, freedom of expression and democracy in the country; whereas Mr Nguyen Tuong Thuy is the vice-chairman and Mr Le Huu Minh Tuan a member of the IJAVN; whereas the scope of their respective reporting includes government mismanagement and corruption, the treatment of human rights advocates by the Vietnamese authorities, and the pro-democracy movement in Vietnam;

     

    F. whereas Mr Pham Chi Dung has been arbitrarily detained since November 21, 2019, on charges of writing “anti-State articles” and “cooperating with foreign media to deliver distorted information” following a video message to members of the European Parliament urging them to postpone ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) pending human rights progress in Vietnam;

     

    G. whereas, under the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), and in particular under articles 1, 2(f) and 35 thereof, Vietnam has committed to cooperating with the European Union in the promotion and protection of human rights; whereas such cooperation includes the implementation of international human rights instruments, such as the ICCPR, to which Vietnam is a state party;

     

    H. whereas a clear link exists between the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA), whereby both parties committed to fulfil their human rights obligations; whereas the essential elements clause in the EU-Vietnam PCA allows for appropriate measures in case of severe and systematic violations of human rights;

     

    I. whereas shortly after Mr Pham Chi Dung’s arrest, IJAVN’s website (www.vietnamthoibao.org ) was shut down by the authorities; whereas Mr Ngyuen Tuong Thuy was arrested in his Hanoi apartment on 23 May 2020 and Mr Le Huu Minh Tuan was arrested on 12 June 2020; whereas all three human rights defenders had been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the Vietnamese authorities prior to their arbitrary arrest and conviction;

     

    J.  whereas on 30 July 2020  Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, Mr. Ngo Van Dung, Mr. Le Quy Loc and Mr. Ho Dinh Cuong of the Hiến Pháp (Constitution) Group, a group of activists aiming to peacefully promote the human rights guaranteed in Vietnam’s constitution, were handed heavy sentences of 8 years in prison and 3 years’ probation, and of 5 years in prison and 2 years’ probation, on charges of ‘disruption of security’ under Article 118 of the Criminal Code; whereas their sentences were upheld by Higher People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City on 8 January 2021;

     

    K. whereas nearly all media outlets are state-owned and controlled, and there is censorship, including of foreign broadcasters and publications;

     

    L. whereas reporting of corruption cases is allowed, but criticism of government policy and calls for democratic reforms are not; whereas the arrest and conviction of the members of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vietnam, and the confirmation of the sentences of the members of the Hiến Pháp (Constitution) Group, aims to further stifle and pre-empt peaceful dissent and human rights advocacy;

     

    M.  whereas the Vietnamese Government continues to prohibit the operation of independent or privately-owned media outlets and exerts strict control over radio and TV stations and printed publications; whereas in April 2016, the National Assembly passed a media law strongly restricting press freedom in Vietnam;

     

    N.  whereas on 12 June 2018 Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a cyber-security law aimed at tightening online controls, which requires providers to delete posts considered ‘threatening’ to national security; whereas this law places harsh restrictions on freedom of expression online and aims at greatly threatening the right to privacy;

     

    O. whereas the freedom of information and of expression online is indispensable to the activity of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Vietnam; whereas Amnesty International reports that the conviction of 78% of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam jailed in 2020 was based on social media activity; whereas at least two global social media platforms have substantially increased their compliance with Vietnam’s muzzle and censorship laws, including through the expansion of geoblocking and removal of ‘propaganda against the Party and the State’;

     

    P. whereas Vietnam ranks 175th out of 180 on the 2020 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index;

     

    Q.  whereas on 1 January 2018 Vietnam’s first ever law on belief and religion came into effect, obliging all religious groups in the country to register with the authorities and to inform them about their activities; whereas the authorities can reject or hinder registration applications and ban religious activities which they arbitrarily deem to be contrary to the ‘national interest’, ‘public order’ or ‘national unity’; whereas with this law, the government has institutionalised its interference in religious affairs and state supervision of religious groups;

     

    R. whereas the Criminal Code of Vietnam contains repressive provisions which are abusively used to silence, arrest, detain, sentence or restrict the activity of human rights activists, dissidents, lawyers, trade unions, religious groups and non-governmental organisations, notably those that express critical views of the Government of Vietnam;

     

    S. whereas the death penalty continues to be applied in Vietnam but the number of executions in recent years is unknown, since the Vietnamese authorities classify death penalty statistics as a state secret;

     

    T. whereas Vietnam has ratified only nine of the UN's 18 Core International Human Rights Instruments;

     

    U. whereas, in the context of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, Vietnam has committed to ratifying fundamental ILO Convention 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise by 2023; whereas Vietnam has ratified Convention 98 on collective bargaining in June 2019 and Convention 105 on forced labour in June 2020;

     

    V. whereas the EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue is an important avenue for ongoing comprehensive discussion of issues of concern to the EU, including the full respect of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; whereas the relationship between the European Union and Vietnam must fundamentally be based on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and on upholding international standards in that regard;

     

    1. Is appalled by and condemns the escalating crackdown on dissent and increasing violations of human rights in Vietnam, including the sentencing, political intimidation, surveillance, harassment, assaults and unfair trials of political activists, journalists, bloggers, dissidents and human rights defenders for exercising their freedom of expression either online or offline, in clear violation of Vietnam’s international human rights obligations;

     

    2.  Calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders and journalists detained or sentenced for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression, including Mr Pham Chi Dung, Mr Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Mr Le Huu Minh, and to drop all charges against them; reiterates the call of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all members of the Hiến Pháp (Constitution) Group, including Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, Ngo Van Dung, Le Quy Loc, and Ho Dinh Cuong;

     

    3. Urges the Vietnamese authorities to reverse its ban on independent media outlets, including the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), and to cease all harassment of independent journalists, political activists and human rights defenders, including all members of IJAVN;

     

    4.  Expresses deep concern over the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in Vietnamese prisons, which increases the risk of infection with COVID-19; reiterates the call of the UN High Commissioner for Human rights to release all those detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and those detained for dissenting views; insists that, pending their release, the Vietnamese authorities must ensure, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all prisoners, including Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan, and ensure that the treatment of all other political prisoners and detainees is in line with international standards; stresses the fact that the right to access lawyers, medical professionals and family members is an important safeguard against torture and ill treatment, and is critical to the right to a fair trial;

     

    5. Expresses its particular indignation at the arrest of Pham Chi Dung, whose conviction of ‘anti-state propaganda’ followed the submission of a video message to an event hosted by a Member of the European Parliament in 2019; strongly denounces the signal this sends to other human rights defenders in Vietnam seeking to engage with representatives of the European Union and its institutions;

     

    6. Reiterates its call on the Vietnamese authorities to end the arbitrary censorship of independent news and media and remove all restrictions and acts of harassment against journalists and human rights defenders and to guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisal, judicial harassment and free from all restrictions including freedom of movement; calls on the Government of Vietnam to remove all restrictions on freedom of religion and to put an end to the harassment of religious communities;

     

    7.  Condemns the abuse of repressive legal provisions restricting fundamental rights and freedoms and the participation of two global social media platforms in attempts by the Vietnamese authorities to limit the freedom of expression; calls on the authorities of Vietnam to repeal, review or amend all repressive laws and decrees, notably Articles 117, 118 and 331 of its Criminal Code, its law on cybersecurity and the law on belief and religion, and to ensure that all legislation is in conformity with international human rights standards and obligations, including the ICCPR, to which Vietnam is a party; calls on the government to bring legislation regulating public gatherings and demonstrations into conformity with the rights of free assembly and association;

     

    8. Calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to strengthen the Human Rights Dialogue with Vietnam at the highest levels, inter alia by urging the Vietnamese authorities to take concrete steps to address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and to undertake concrete reforms, including comprehensive judicial reforms, to ensure consistency with their bilateral and international commitments;

     

    9. Urges the Vietnamese authorities to ensure the establishment of an independent monitoring mechanism on human rights and an independent complaints mechanism, providing affected citizens and local stakeholders with effective recourse to remedy, and a tool to address potential negative impacts on human rights, notably through the ratification of the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which establishes an individual complaint mechanism;

     

    10. Urges Vietnam to ensure the full establishment of the Domestic Advisory Groups under the EVFTA; calls on the Vietnamese authorities to refrain from any undue interference in the composition and functioning of the body as well as against any possible threat or retaliation against its selected members;

    11. Encourages Vietnam to issue a standing invitation to the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, in particular the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders;

    12. Reiterates its commitment to make best use of all leverages to improve the human rights situation in Vietnam and underlines a strong link between trade issues and human rights; in this respect, welcomes the opportunity to raise the human rights issue in the meetings of the Joint Parliamentary Monitoring Group on EU-Vietnam FTA with the Vietnamese Parliament, and the fact that the first such meeting took place in December 2020;

    13. Emphasises the legally binding link between the PCA and the EVFTA and recalls that respect of human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of the press, is the benchmark against which the EU measures the success of its cooperation with Vietnam; recalls that the essential elements clause in the EU-Vietnam PCA allows for appropriate measures in case of serious and sustained breaches of the respect of democratic principles and fundamental rights;

     

    14.  Calls on the Commission to constantly verify the human rights situation in Vietnam through the introduction of benchmarks and monitoring mechanisms and to regularly report to Parliament on Vietnam’s progress in regard to human rights;

     

    15.  Calls on Vietnam to sign and ratify all relevant human right treaties of the United Nations and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; notes the revised 2019 Vietnam Labour Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2021 and which brings Vietnam’s domestic labour legislation more closely in line with international labour rights, and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to ensure worker’s effective access to all rights under the 2019 Labour Code; highlights Vietnam’s commitment to ratifying ILO Core Convention 87 by 2023 and invites the Vietnamese authorities to take further concrete steps towards its ratification;

     

    16.  Calls on the authorities of Vietnam to recognise independent labour unions and to protect all workers, and especially women and children, against discriminations, sexual harassment, violations of legal overtime threshold, and of safety and health obligations;

     

    17.  Reiterates its opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances; calls on the Vietnamese authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards its full abolition; calls on the authorities of Vietnam to review all death sentences in order to ensure that these trials adhered to international standards; urges the government of Vietnam to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;

     

    18.  Calls on the Commission to take more active steps to address the human rights situation in Vietnam; points out that its resolution from 12 February 2020 called on the Commission to carry out a comprehensive human rights impact assessment of the FTA; equally, reiterates its call to set up an independent monitoring mechanism on human rights and an independent complaints mechanism;

     

    19. 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 human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in all contacts they hold with Vietnamese authorities; urges the EU delegation in Hanoi to systematically raise concerns in all their interactions with Vietnamese authorities and provide all appropriate support to imprisoned human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, including by arranging prison visits, monitoring trials and offering legal assistance, in accordance with the new EU action plan on human rights and democracy and other relevant EU human rights guidelines;

    20.  Urges the EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the human rights situation in Vietnam; calls on EU Member States to strongly voice their concerns regarding the worsening human rights situation in Vietnam; encourages the EU and its Member States to intensify their international efforts to promote a joint initiative with likeminded partners, and particularly with the new US Administration, to work towards concrete human rights improvements in Vietnam at the UN Human Rights Council;

    21.  Reiterates its call for an EU-wide ban on the export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment, arms and dual-use goods which can be or are used for internal repression, including internet surveillance technology, to states with a worrying human rights record, including Vietnam;

     

    22.  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 EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Government and National Assembly of Vietnam, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

     

     

     

    Pēdējā atjaunošana: 2021. gada 19. janvāris
    Juridisks paziņojums - Privātuma politika