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The Observatory: Viet Nam: Arbitrary detention of labour and land rights defender Ms. Tran Thi Nga

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VNM 001 / 0117 / OBS 011
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
January 24, 2017

PARIS-GENEVA, January 24, 2017 (THE OBSERVATORY & VCHR) – The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Viet Nam.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) about the arbitrary arrest and detention of labour and land rights defender Ms. Tran Thi Nga. According to the information received, on January 21, 2017, the police arrested Ms. Tran Thi Nga at her home in Phu Ly, Ha Nam Province, searched her house, and confiscated several of her personal items. On the same day, Ms. Tran Thi Nga’s partner Mr. Luong Dan Ly, a pro-democracy activist and blogger, was also arrested. He was released the following day.

Ms. Tran Thi Nga on the day of her arrest (21 January 2017)
Ms. Tran Thi Nga on the day of her arrest (21 January 2017)


Ms. Tran Thi Nga was subsequently charged under Article 88 of the Criminal Code (1) (“spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”). On their website, police said that Ms. Tran Thi Nga used the Internet “to spread some propaganda videos and writings that are against the Government of the Social Republic of Viet Nam”. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in jail.

Ms. Tran Thi Nga has been the target of frequent assaults by security agents because of her human rights activities. In 2014, her leg was broken during an altercation with the police. In the days prior to her arrest, Ms. Tran Thi Nga complained of increasing police intimidation and harassment, including surveillance of her home and being physically stopped from leaving her house. Police also prevented a neighbour from taking the couple’s two young sons to the city to buy them food.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention of Ms. Tran Thi Nga, as well as the charges against her, which seem to be aimed at sanctioning her legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. The Observatory calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her and to drop all charges against her.


Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Viet Nam urging them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Tran Thi Nga as her detention is arbitrary since it only seems to merely sanction her human rights activities;

ii.Guarantee in all circumstances her physical and psychological integrity as well as that of all human rights defenders in Viet Nam;

iii. Put an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Tran Thi Nga, as well as against all human rights defenders in Viet Nam;

iv. Amend Article 88 of the Criminal Code, to bring it in conformity with international human rights standards;

v. Comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Viet Nam.


• Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam; Fax: 84-4-38231872 – 84-4-37992682, Email: bc.mfa@mofa.gov.vn
• Mr. Le Vinh Tan, Minister of Home Affairs of Viet Nam, Fax: 84-4-39781005
• Mr. Le Thanh Long, Minister of Justice of Viet Nam, Fax: 84-4-38431431
• Mr. To Lam, Minister of Public Security of Viet Nam, Fax: 84-4-9420223
• Mr. Mai Tien Dung, Minister, Office of the Government (OOG), Viet Nam; Fax: 84-4-8044130
• Mr. Chi Dung Duong, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Viet Nam to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24; Email: info@vnmission-ge.gov.vn
• Mr. Vuong Thua Phong, Ambassador, Embassy of of Viet Nam in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 (0)2 374 93 76; Email: vnemb.brussels@skynet.be – unescochau@yahoo.com
Please also write to the embassies of Viet Nam in your respective country.


Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu , the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.


To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29




(1) In July 2002, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (CCPR) denounced the provisions of Article 88 of the Criminal Code as “incompatible” with international human rights law and demanded their immediate repeal. See Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations, UN Doc. CCPR/CO/75/VNM, August 5, 2002


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