Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Open Letter to the Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

Open Letter to the Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

c/c: Honorable David Shear, USAmbassador to Vietnam
c/c: Honorable Ed Royce, US Congressman

June 10th, 2013

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I am writing this letter to you to bring to your attention this matter of urgency, concerning Cu Huy Ha Vu, J.D. This Juris doctor is well-known to the Vietnamese community and other human rights organizations which watch over Vietnam’s history and records of violations and abuses of the basic human rights of the Vietnamese people. Mr. Cu H H Vu was wrongfully accused and sentenced to 7-years of imprisonment and 3-years of house arrest for his alert on, and opposition to many unlawful and destructive deeds of the Vietnamese government to Vietnam and its people. Mr. Cu is now on hunger strike to oppose the unlawful acts— not  written as regulations— of a supervisor and his subordinates in a jail cell in Thanh Hoa. He is suffering from Congenital Heart Defect, Severe headache, Hypertension as well as other conditions caused by the maltreatment and filthy, abusive conditions of the jail. His strike is now on the 15th day, and he is feeling very, very weak. In short, due to the heart defect, his life could be in danger at any moment. Let’s hear from his wife :
“I am Nguyen Thi Duong Ha, residing at 24 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, together with all members of our family, we would like to send to all of you this urgent appeal for help :

My husband, Lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu, J.D. was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment and 3 years of house arrest  by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” through a “public hearing”, but ironically decided by a secret trial in Hà Nội.

Those who have observed and known the activities of Mr. Cu Huy Ha Vu to clean up his country, have seen this sentence as a dirty stain difficult to wash away, committed by the so called “National Jurisdiction of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”.  The very reason for this is everything Mr. Cu  H H Vu said, published, and done are being proven as reflecting the reality of Vietnam, and society is accepting  his proposals as a path towards the advancement of the country. However,  Cu Huy Ha Vu who loves his country and his compatriots, who is dedicated to contribute to the destiny of the nation and to the future of the population is being treated very cruelly, at the place he is being detained, the prison no 5 – Department of Security  in Yên Định, Thanh Hoá.”

By this day June 4th, 2013, Mr. Vu has been on hunger  strike for 9 days and in very grave situation. His life is in danger because he has Congenital heart defect and because of conditions brought about in prison.”

                     (translated from Vietnamese  by Hiền Minh)

Dear Mr. Secretary,

If there is a case that needs to be given the most urgent handling, I think, this is one of them. Please advise Ambassador David Shear to give utmost care to this case. And below are some excerpts from the testimonies of your subordinates:

1. Many of Vietnam’s more than 120 political prisoners are in jail for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Cu Huy Ha Vu, whose wife I met with in Hanoi, criticized publicly the corruption associated with bauxite mining and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Ta Phong Tan is in prison for writing online about police corruption. Nguyen Van Hai, or Dieu Cay, peacefully expressed his views online and protested his country’s policy towards China and is now serving a 12-year sentence. The state has deemed these individuals a threat, a national security concern – a charge clearly unfounded when you sit down and have a conversation with individuals such as Father Ly, whom I was able to meet in prison. Do Thi Minh Hanh, Doan Huy Chuong, and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung were arrested in February 2010 for distributing pamphlets calling for democratic freedoms. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention advised their release.
  ( Dan Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Testimony in House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, June 5, 2013 )

2. I would like to emphasize that our concern for human rights factors into all aspects of our policy approach and engagement with Vietnam. We believe that greater respect for human rights on the part of the Government of Vietnam would help ensure that country’s future economic, social, and political development and allow us to strengthen our bilateral relationship. We have underscored with the Vietnamese leadership that the American people will not support a dramatic upgrading of our bilateral ties without demonstrable progress on human rights.

  ( Joseph Yun, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Testimony in House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, June 5, 2013 )

Mr. Secretary,

We, Vietnamese-Americans believe Mr. D. Baer and Mr. J. Yun have tried to voice the concerns on human rights and other violations of the Vietnamese government, but without further “push”, or clearer-stronger-more demanding to press the Vietnamese government— as Congressman Ed Royce— aptly assessed below, to improve their intentions and acts as well as treatments of their own citizen on basic rights, freedom and democracy, we are just doing lip services to what the founders of this country held dearly. As such, it is sad.

“Is it the problem of the State Department not pushing hard enough in these meetings, or is it the question of not having an agenda ?…The report that I read (from the state Department) is the anti-thesis of the report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW documents the same types of abuses …On the other hand… What I am reading in the Sate Department’s report from last year, I no longer believe…”

(Chairman Royce Questions Witnesses at Vietnam Hearing – 4 June, 2013)

As this letter coming to an end, let me just show you a picture of a demonstration against Chinese aggression and expansion in Hanoion June 1, 2013. This picture depicts how the most common Vietnamese, in expressing their love for their country, in the face of the shameful expansion of China in what we call the Eastern Sea ( they call South China sea), by attacking our fishermen’s boats, capturing their equipments and catches,  killing our fishermen etc. in the Spratly and Paracel islands. To express this most basic character of being a human as well as the freedom of expression, these (around) 15 men and women had to lay down, accepting fate, which could be death, to protest and block the way so that the trucks can not move, after a friend of theirs was thrown out from a truck and hit his head on the ground, with blood all over his head. This is what the present dictatorial regime and its security police and other undercover police in Hanoi are doing to our people. Right at the moment, I do not have an adjective or a noun to describe these heartless guys, who, using the same excuse of following orders, assault, beat up, and club etc. my compatriots. Certainly, it is a very sad, sad picture of humanity.

To conclude, please use the power vested in you somehow, to intervene to help save Mr. Cu H H Vu. Thank you very much and wholeheartedly, Mr. Secretary.

Respectfully yours,

Tâm Nguyên (Hiền Minh)

No comments:

Post a Comment