9 US congressmen asked Kamala Harris to raise human rights while visiting Vietnam

WASHINGTON, DC (NV) – Nine US congressmen just sent a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris on August 16, asking to raise human rights and prisoners of conscience issues with the Vietnamese government when visiting the country from 24 to 26. August, a press release from the Office of Representative Alan Lowenthal (California-District 47) sent out on Wednesday, August 18, says so.

The letter was co-signed by Congressman Lowenthal and eight fellow members of Congress, namely Lou Correa (California-46th District), Michelle Steel (California-48th District), Katie Porter (California-45th District), Zoe Lofgren (California-District 19), Young Kim (California-District 39), Ro Khanna (California-District 17), Marilyn Strickland (Washington-District 10), and Scott Peters (California-District 52).

Vice President Kamala Harris will pay an official visit to Vietnam from August 24 to 26. (Image: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Nine US federal congressmen also called on the government to pay attention to the status of vaccination against COVID-19 for US citizens living and working in Vietnam.

In a press release, Mr. Lowenthal said: “It was extremely important that Vice President Harris made human rights a central point in bilateral meetings during her first visit to the Vietnamese government. Vietnam aspires to continue to be an equal member of the international community but cannot erase its poor human rights record.”

“While the United States should do what we can to support the Vietnamese people through this global pandemic, we must also make it clear that the United States will continue to hold the Vietnamese government accountable. about their human rights violations,” Congressman Lowenthal continued.

In the letter, nine citizens expressed concern about the increasing repression of the Vietnamese government in recent years and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter adds: “Vietnam uses vague ‘national security’ laws to arbitrarily arrest dissident voices and convict them through long and harsh prison sentences.”

The letter specifically addresses the case of prisoners of conscience such as Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Pham Doan Trang, Truong Duy Nhat, Le Dinh Luong, Le Huu Minh Tuan, Nguyen Van Hoa, Nguyen Bac Truyen, and Chau Van Kham. .

Nine congressmen have called on Vice President Harris to prioritize the case of these prisoners of conscience, demand that they be vaccinated against COVID-19 in prison, and demand that the Vietnamese government release them. .

In addition, the deputies also raised two cases of Mr. Tran Hoang Huan, 33 years old, who was detained by the Vietnamese government for posting on his Facebook page a challenge to the Communist Party of Vietnam to free electricity and water bills for people. people during the epidemic, and the case of lecturer Tran Thi Tho of Duy Tan University, who was fired for criticizing the government’s measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic.

Representative Lou Correa said: “During the first visit to Vietnam to promote the message of ‘America is back’ by the Joe Biden administration, Vice President Harris must remind Vietnam that democracy and fundamental rights Human dignity is a core value of the United States. Nor must we leave behind thousands of American citizens currently working and residing in Vietnam. We have vaccines and are required at U.S. embassies and consulates, and we have a responsibility to Americans who want a COVID-19 vaccine. I congratulate Vice President Harris on her historic visit, and I look forward to continuing to work with her on these issues.”

“Reports of continued abuse in Vietnam, including suppression of press freedom and imprisonment of peaceful dissidents, are deeply concerning,” said Congresswoman Michelle Steel. My colleagues and I call on Vice President Harris to speak up for basic human rights. The Vietnamese people also need broader access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and I hope the US administration continues to push Vietnamese officials to distribute the vaccine fairly.”

The letter also states: “We understand that it is US policy not to place conditions on countries when distributing vaccines. However, there are more than 100,000 US citizens currently living and working in Vietnam, and we urge you to consider the responsibility of the United States to our citizens abroad and allow our ambassador to US consulates and consulates in Vietnam provide COVID-19 vaccines to US citizens immediately. This effort will help protect U.S. citizens without jumping on the vaccine waiting list, while also allowing the Vietnamese government to vaccinate its citizens on its own schedule.”

Mr. Alan Lowenthal, Mr. Lou Correa, and Ms. Michelle Steel represent three districts that include Little Saigon, home to the largest overseas Vietnamese community.

Concluding the letter, the congressmen emphasized the hope that the United States would speak up for the basic human rights of the Vietnamese people in bilateral dialogues with Vietnam as well as prioritize the safety of the Vietnamese people. US citizens abroad during the pandemic. Increasing diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam must be based on improving human rights in this one-party state. The goal of building a free and stable Asia-Pacific cannot be achieved while human rights violations are rampant. (D.D.) [kn]

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