(VNRN) – Representatives of Vietnam’s independent civil society testified before the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Senate on April 7.
The panel heard testimony from Hoi Trinh, the executive director of VOICE (Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment), journalist and blogger Pham Doan Trang [Phạm Đoan Trang], a writer for Vietnamrightnow.com; blogger Nguyen Anh Tuan [Nguyễn Anh Tuấn], representing the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers; Trinh Huu Long [Trịnh Hữu Long], a human rights lawyer speaking for the Vietnam Path Movement; and Ann Pham, a Board member of VOICE Canada.
Video for the hearing was streamed live on the Internet and was watched from as far away as Vietnam.
Senator Monica Jaffer, Chair of the Committee, noted that “Vietnam is a one-party Communist state,” and while the country’s constitution and laws provide for freedom of speech but “in practice the government curtails this right through broad national security and anti-defamation laws.”
“Blogging about topics such as corruption, democratic reform, human rights and territorial disputes with China has resulted in significant jail terms for bloggers,” Jaffer added.