Congressman Lowenthal Leads Bipartisan Group Of Colleagues In Calling On President Trump To Pressure Vietnam Govt On Human Rights During State Visit To Communist Nation

November 9, 2017
Press Release

Congress Members Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), and Chris Smith (NJ-04), co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, have joined with 17 colleagues on both sides of the aisle in urging President Donald Trump to pressure the government of Vietnam on human rights issues during his visit to the communist nation this week.

In a Nov. 8 letter sent to President Trump, the Members want the President to "…impress upon the Communist Party leaders in Hanoi that continued expansion of economic and strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam will depend on real and concrete improvements in Vietnam's dismal human rights record."

The Members warn that they are "…gravely concerned about the harassment, intimidation, assaults, and imprisonment of rights defenders, bloggers, and religious leaders…" in Vietnam.

The letter also explains that basic rights in Vietnam, including freedom of religion, speech, press, and association, are severely threatened; religious groups face systematic, ongoing, and egregious restrictions for seeking to organize independent of government control, and workers are not allowed to form independent unions; torture is endemic in the Vietnamese prison system and there is no independent judiciary; and, the ruling Communist Party does not allow challenges to its leadership and maintains, often brutally, its monopoly on power.  

The Members conclude by calling on the President to develop policy approaches that intertwine U.S. human rights, economic, security, and political interests in Vietnam.

Included in the letter is a list of more than 100 prisoners of conscience currently being held by the Vietnamese government.

To read the entire letter, including details of the human rights abuses committed by the Vietnamese government, click here.

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