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Vietnam: Progress urged towards abolishing the death penalty

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PARIS, 10 October 2014 (FIDH & Vietnam Committee on Human Rights) – Vietnam must put an end to executions and undertake incremental and time-bound reforms towards abolishing the death penalty, FIDH and its member organization VCHR said today to mark the 12th World Day Against the Death Penalty.

“Despite Vietnam’s rhetoric of adopting a ‘humane policy’ vis-à-vis the death penalty, executions have not stopped and Hanoi has showed a cynical lack of commitment to making progress toward the abolition of capital punishment,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

On 5 February 2014, during its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Vietnam refused to commit to ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and establishing a moratorium on executions. In addition, Vietnam accepted only six of the 29 recommendations made by other states on death penalty-related issues. Four of the six accepted recommendations urged Vietnam to reduce the number of capital crimes. Vietnam’s Criminal Code lists 22 offenses that are punishable by death.

“Vietnam must swiftly implement the UPR recommendations and adopt the necessary legislative amendments to reduce the number of crimes that are punishable by death, including economic and drug-related crimes,” said VCHR President Vo Van Ai. “Vietnam must also re-consider the imposition of the death penalty for the seven vaguely-defined ‘national security’ crimes, which could be used to punish dissidents for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.”

FIDH and VCHR urge Vietnam to establish an official moratorium on capital punishment, to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at abolishing the death penalty, and to vote in favor of a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in December.

At least 148 people were sentenced to death in 2013. As of November 2013, a total of 678 prisoners were awaiting execution. Vietnam usually treats statistics about executions as state secrets. However, some are periodically reported in state media. The last time executions were reported was on 23 July 2014, when state media said three people were put to death by lethal injection a day earlier. One of the three was Nguyen Duc Nghia, 30, who had been sentenced to death in July 2010 on charges of murdering his ex-girlfriend.

FIDH is a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. FIDH opposes the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances and works with its member organizations for its global abolition. FIDH considers that death penalty constitutes an inhuman treatment. FIDH has documented that death penalty is commonly pronounced after unfair trials, and its application is often discriminatory.

Press contacts
FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66 886117722 (Bangkok)
FIDH: Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33 6 72 28 42 94 (Paris)
FIDH: Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33 6 48 05 91 57 (Paris)

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