Congressman Lowenthal Calls For End To Vietnam Human Rights Abuses Ahead Of White House Meeting; Warns ‘World is Watching’ Hanoi Abuses

July 23, 2013
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) spoke today at a Capitol Hill press conference calling on the Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to halt human rights abuses ahead of his planned meeting with President Barack Obama on July 25. Below are Congressman Lowenthal's comments from the press conference:

"Good morning. I would like to thank my colleagues, including Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, and Congressman Ed Royce, and all of the groups who are here today to show their support for the people of Vietnam. Today, we stand together and speak with one voice in saying that human rights violations in Vietnam must end.

This Thursday, President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam will visit the White House and it is our duty to remind him that human rights violations in Vietnam do not go unnoticed.

We are watching. The world is watching.

We call on the government of Vietnam to respect the freedoms guaranteed in its own constitution. We call on the government of Vietnam to stop imprisoning its own citizens for speaking out in support of democracy and human rights. And, we ask President Sang to release from detention those Vietnamese men and women who have been held on unfounded charges—people like Nguyen Tien Trung, who was sentenced to seven years in jail for democratic activism.

As the United States strengthens our social and economic ties to Asia and the Pacific Rim, we look forward to a friendly and supportive bilateral relationship with Vietnam. However, we must also insist that Vietnam improves its record on protecting human rights. Trade and economic growth should not come at the price of democracy and freedom. Rather, we have a responsibility to ensure that liberty and prosperity grow stronger in unison.

I call on my colleagues to work together to ensure that we remain firm in our commitment to ensuring human rights for people all over the world, including in Vietnam. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Vietnam Human Rights Act, and was happy to see this bill unanimously reported out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month. Through legislation like the Vietnam Human Rights Act, we must continue to remind President Sang and the government of Vietnam that all people are entitled to their basic human rights, and that we in the United States Congress will continue fighting to make sure these rights are not infringed upon."