Vietnam has been accused of “misinforming” the international community about the human rights issues in the country.
The president of the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Vo Van Ai, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, condemned the alleged “brutal crackdown on freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and freedom of religion or belief in Vietnam”.
Ai said the government had used “national security” as an excuse to detain Vietnamese and international civil society activists, and to discriminate against non-recognised religions in Vietnam.
World Watch Monitor reported in April about a Catholic human rights activist’s nine-year jail sentence. Teresa Tran Thi Xuan was convicted of “attempting to overthrow the people’s government”.
Earlier that month, fellow Christian human rights activist Nguyen Van Dai was jailed for 15 years on the same charge.
According to Catholic news agency UCAN, Xuan was a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, an organisation founded by Dai to promote human rights through online activity, but seen by Vietnam as a reactionary group trying to overthrow the state.
In February, a 14-year jail sentence was given to 35-year-old Catholic Hoang Duc Binh. It drew condemnation from the US State Department, which said it was “deeply troubled” by the conviction.