Vietnamese party official abducted in Berlin

Federal government must take human rights violations in Vietnam more serious (Press Release)

In Vietnam government critics and democracy supporter get arrested nearly every week and often they are covicted to many years prison. Photo: pixabay.com

Following the kidnapping of a former Vietnamese party official in Berlin, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands a rethinking of the German-Vietnamese relations. The human rights organization demanded that the difficult human rights situation in Vietnam must play a greater role in the relations with Vietnamese government representatives. “Instead of using the booming economy to present Vietnam as an emerging democracy and a strategic partner, everyone should be a bit more realistic,” criticized Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. “Vietnam’s authorities are guilty of severe and arbitrary human rights violations, to be seen as attempts to strengthen the position of the Communist Party in the country – and, apparently, in Germany as well.” According to media reports, the former party representative had applied for asylum in Germany before being kidnapped. Shortly after, he was arrested in his home country.”

Delius accused the German federal government of giving economic questions priority and of being much too lenient with Vietnam, uncritically accepting the country as a strategic partner. “This is the backlash: now, Vietnam’s state security is acting as if it Berlin were its home. Members of the opposition, such as the members of the mountain tribes, have already experienced the state security’s long arm here for a while already.”

The STP emphasized that there are arrests of government critics and supporters of the democracy movement in Vietnam almost every week – often leading to long-term imprisonment. “The German federal government and the European Commission don’t seem to care about that very much,” Delius said. Four leading democracy activists were arrested in Vietnam only last weekend. They are accused of planning to overthrow the one-party rule. The Protestant pastor Nguyen Trun Ton, lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen, journalist Truong Minh Duc, and engineer Pham Van Troi had published a statement on the internet, emphasizing their commitment to the democracy movement in country.

Before, on July 25, land rights activist Tran Thi Nga had been sentenced to nine years imprisonment, followed by five years probation. The mother of two children, who is primarily trying to help victims of land grabbing, has been under pressure by the authorities for quite a while already. When she was arrested In May 2014, security officers had beaten her with a metal rod, causing severe injuries.