(VNRN) – The United Kingdom cites Vietnam as a “country of concern” in its latest annual human rights evaluations released Apr 10.
The British Foreign Office‘s 2013 annual report concludes that the situation in Vietnam “remains of significant concern.”
The report notes Vietnam’s resumption of executions, “detentions and harassment of bloggers, demonstrators and human rights defenders” and the government’s new law regulation the use of the internet and “effectively tightening its control.”
The report, on the other hand, recognizes advances in other areas such as the ability of human rights defenders to hold the first Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender parade in the country.
The report reveals that Britain raised human rights issues “at all levels” in its contacts, including during the Feb 2013 visit by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party to London and the most recent UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue.
Among groups highlighted in the report is the “258 group,” also known as the “258 Statement” group, that seeks to repeal Article 258 of the Penal Code which criminalizes “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State.”
“A number of the group’s members and their families were subject to harassment and detention by the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security,” the report states.
The UK government in its report believes that Vietnam “is allowing more space for religious expression, but taking a much harder line where members of religious groups are believed to be involved in political movements or protests.”
Other areas covered by the report include access to justice and the rule of law, women’s rights, LGBT rights, minority rights, and children’s rights.