The 88 Project commenced and was joined by 12 other human rights organizations to sign and publish an open letter, addressed to current U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, ahead of her planned mission to Singapore and Vietnam.
The intentions of her visit, as previously reported by Nikkei Asia, are to strengthen U.S presence in the Southeast Asian region, and to discuss the issues of climate change, regional security, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Released on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, the letter urges the Vice President to “empathize the importance of human rights with Vietnamese leaders” and also calls for specific action to be taken regarding the situation of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, a prominent Vietnamese democracy activist whose health is slowly deteriorating due to his prolonged hunger strike.
In 2010, Thuc was sentenced to 16 years in prison for writing and publishing online articles calling for a multi-party democratic system in Vietnam. The letter also claims that Thuc’s imprisonment, detention, and subsequent treatment at the hands of Vietnamese authorities are blatant infringements of his right to a fair trial under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Vietnamese Constitution itself. He has also been subject to various forms of physical and mental duress which violate the international prohibition against torture.
The 12 signatories of the open letter implore U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to express her concern regarding this blatant denial of Thuc’s human rights, in her discussions with Vietnamese leaders, and to call for his immediate and unconditional release.
For the full text of the open letter, click here.
For more information regarding the situation of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, click here.