(VNRN) – In a speech to the Australian Parliament Mar. 6, a member of Labor Party’s leadership denounced the Vietnamese government’s imprisonment of Le Quoc Quan and attack on Nguyen Bac Truyen, and called for “genuine improvements in human rights in Vietnam.”
Chris Hayes, Chief Opposition Whip, related his meeting with Hoi Trinh and VOICE’s delegation, including Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tram (Nguyễn Thị Trâm), Quan’s (Lê Quốc Quân) mother. “Mr Quan is very well known for his extensive work in human rights, both as a blogger and in providing representation to other human rights defenders,” Hayes said in his speech. “His refusal to be submissive has seen him been arrested on a number of occasions, most recently on 27 December 2012–on this occasion on very loose charge of tax evasion.”
Quan’s conviction on trumped up tax charges was recently affirmed by the Party-controlled appeals court in Hanoi.
Hayes drew parallels between Quan’s and Truyen’s (Nguyễn Bắc Truyển) cases, where Truyen and his wife “were targets of a vicious physical attack before a meeting with Australian diplomats about human rights issues.”
“The attack was clearly an attempt to prevent them from meeting with the Australian diplomats to raise human rights issues,” Hayes said. “He and his wife arrived at the Australian embassy with considerable injuries requiring medical attention. Understandably, this incident not only affected Mr Truyen and his wife but also most distressing to the embassy staff, bringing into stark focus the issue of human rights abuses in Vietnam.”
Drawing attention to the fact that Vietnam has been a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1982, Hayes asserts, “30 years on, little progress appears to have been made when it comes to the rights of the people.”
“In last year alone there were 61 reported cases of political activists being convicted and sentenced in Vietnam, which is a remarkable step up from the 40 cases of the year before. Among the arrested were lawyers, doctors and religious practitioners–hardly criminals by our standards.”
Hayes called human rights promotion and protection “a moral responsibility” of Australia, “a reflection of our national values and … an underlying principle of Australia’s engagement with the international community.”