Thursday 18 July 2013




The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.

As a candidate for the HRC for the 2014-2016 tenure, Vietnam must demonstrate its commitment to cooperating with the HRC and upholding “the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”. 

These obligations and responsibilities do not only apply on the international arena, but also inside Vietnam.  The Vietnamese government also needs to review the human rights situation in their own country and the Vietnamese people also have a right to freedom of opinion and expression, including on these matters.

In order to improve the protection of human rights in Vietnam, we will take HRC's principles as guidelines for our actions, which also comply with Vietnam’s obligations under international human rights law.

We will:

- Continue to promote and inform the Vietnamese people about their rights by publicly distributing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), organizing public forums to discuss human rights in Vietnam and advocating for necessary improvements of the respect and protection of human rights.

- Continue to monitor, publicly report and comment on improvement, setbacks, or violations of human rights in Vietnam, with a focus on policy and practice by the Vietnamese authorities that affect human rights.

In order to fulfill these responsible actions, we call upon the Vietnamese government and the HRC to review Article 258 of the 1999 Penal Code of Vietnam, amended in 2009 - "crime of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and citizens."

In May 2013, two bloggers were detained right after they distributed the UDHR and police accused them of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State. Only weeks later, two other bloggers were detained after participating an outdoor picnic to discuss the content of the UDHR.

Most recently, in May and June 2013, Article 258 was used to arrest blogger Truong Duy Nhat, Pham Viet Dao, and Dinh Nhat Uy forexercising their rights of freedom of expression by peacefully publishing texts on their blogs.

This article is in breach of the Article 19 of the UDHR: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

It would be a great responsibility to serve as a member state of the Human Rights Council, and an opportunity to promote human rights domestically and abroad. For a successful candidacy, we believe Vietnam must repeal or make amendments to Article 258 to ensure that Vietnamese people are free to educate themselves about and promote human rights. 

We hope that Vietnam will consider the abrogation of Article 258 to demonstrate its commitment and contribution to promoting and protecting human rights, and we hope that the General Assembly members will push Vietnam to do so during the campaigning period. 

We request Vietnam to present its human rights pledges as a candidate well before the election, to enable members of the General Assembly to assess its human rights commitment. The abrogation of Article 258 should be among the pledges.

As said by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General - “All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action.” As advocates for freedom of expression in Vietnam and victims of human rights violations because of our activism, we view Vietnam's candidacy for the HRC as a platform for constructive human rights discussions in our country.

(List of the first 69 Vietnamese bloggers signing the Statement)

  1. Võ Quốc Anh - Nha Trang
  2. Phạm Lê Vương Các - Sài Gòn
  3. Huỳnh Ngọc Chênh - Sài Gòn
  4. Nguyễn Thảo Chi - Sài Gòn
  5. Nguyễn Đắc Hải Di - Oslo, Na-uy
  6. Lê Dũng - Hà Nội
  7. Hoàng Văn Dũng - Sài Gòn
  8. Nguyễn Văn Dũng - Hà Nội
  9. Mai Xuân Dũng - Hà Nội
  10. Trương Văn Dũng - Hà Nội
  11. Ngô Nhật Đăng - Hà Nội
  12. Nguyễn Chí Đức - Hà Nội
  13. Phạm Văn Hải - Nha Trang
  14. Hoàng Thu Hà - Hà Nội
  15. Bùi Thị Minh Hằng - Vũng Tàu
  16. Nguyễn Vũ Hiệp - Hà Nội
  17. Vũ Sỹ Hoàng - Sài Gòn
  18. Nguyễn Thị Hợi - Nam Định
  19. Lê Anh Hùng - Quảng Trị
  20. Trần Văn Huỳnh - Sài Gòn
  21. Nguyễn Việt Hưng - Hà Nội
  22. Đặng Thị Hường - Hà Nội
  23. Nguyễn Xuân Kim - Nghệ An
  24. Đặng Ngọc Lan - Hà Nội
  25. Bùi Tuấn Lâm - Đà Nẵng
  26. Nguyễn Thùy Linh - Hà Nội
  27. Vũ Thị Thùy Linh - Hà Nội
  28. Đào Trang Loan - Hà Nội
  29. Lê Thăng Long - Sài Gòn
  30. Nguyễn Tiến Nam - Yên Bái
  31. Phạm Thanh Nghiên - Hải Phòng
  32. Vũ Quốc Ngữ - Hà Nội
  33. Đào Hữu Nghĩa Nhân - Sài Gòn
  34. Bùi Thị Nhung - Ninh Bình
  35. Lê Hồng Phong - Hà Nội
  36. Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh - Nha Trang
  37. Trương Minh Tam - Hà Nội
  38. Hồ Đức Thành - Hà Nội
  39. Nguyễn Hồ Nhật Thành - Sài Gòn
  40. Phạm Văn Thành - Pháp
  41. Nguyễn Lân Thắng - Hà Nội
  42. Châu Văn Thi - Sài Gòn
  43. Khổng Hy Thiêm - Nha Trang
  44. Võ Trường Thiện - Nha Trang
  45. Linh mục Giuse Đinh Hữu Thoại - Sài Gòn
  46. Nguyễn Tường Thụy - Hà Nội
  47. Trịnh Kim Tiến - Sài Gòn
  48. Nguyễn Thành Tiến
  49. Phạm Toàn - Hà Nội
  50. Trịnh Văn Toàn - Hà Nội
  51. Lê Thu Trà - Hà Nội
  52. Nghiêm Ngọc Trai - Hà Nội
  53. Phạm Đoan Trang - Hà Nội
  54. Nguyễn Thu Trang - Hà Nội
  55. Hoàng Đức Trọng - Sài Gòn
  56. Phạm Văn Trội - Hà Nội
  57. Hoàng Anh Trung - Hà Nội
  58. Nguyễn Anh Tuấn - Đà Nẵng
  59. Trịnh Anh Tuấn - Buôn Ma Thuột
  60. Vũ Quốc Tú - Sài Gòn
  61. Đặng Vũ Tùng - Zurich, Thụy Sĩ
  62. Nguyễn Chí Tuyến - Hà Nội
  63. Nguyễn Hoàng Vi - Sài Gòn
  64. Nguyễn Văn Viên - Hà Nội
  65. Bùi Quang Viễn - Sài Gòn
  66. Lê Công Vinh - Vũng Tàu
  67. J.B Nguyễn Hữu Vinh - Hà Nội
  68. Đặng Tuấn Vũ - Hà Nội
  69. Huỳnh Thục Vy - Quảng Nam