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Article

Vietnam: CSOs urge European Parliament not to ratify EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement until Vietnam fulfils its commitments to human rights

"Civil society calls on European Parliament not to ratify EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement without firm guarantees on human rights", 4 Dec 2019

At a Conference...organized by Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), civil society organizations urged Euro-MPs not to ratify EVFTA [EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement] until Vietnam has taken concrete steps to improve human rights.

...VCHR revealed a video message prepared...by Phạm Chí Dũng, an independent journalist and prominent dissident in Vietnam. On 21st November, just two days after he sent it to VCHR, Phạm Chí Dũng was arrested in Vietnam....

...Phạm Chí Dũng...described the eight annual EU-Vietnam human rights dialogues as "fruitless", with less than 95% of the EU's recommendations not taken into account, and rejected claims that Vietnam's newly-amended Labour Code is a positive step forward. Contrary to what has been said, the Code makes no provisions for the establishment of free trade unions...

Phạm Chí Dũng concluded his message by calling on the EP [European Parliament] to postpone ratification of EVFTA and IPA "until Vietnam's regime fulfils its commitments on human rights"...

"The regime is likely to jail more dissidents after the EU ratifies the EVFTA and IPA. Prominent dissidents who oppose EVFTA due to Vietnam's poor human rights record and those who stand up against China will receive heavy prison sentences"...

[Phạm Chí Dũng] was arrested on 21st November... He is charged with "making, storing or disseminating information, documents, materials and items against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam"...If convicted, he faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

...VCHR and FIDH also announced that...they had filed a formal Complaint to the EU Ombudsman in which they accused the European Commission of "maladministration" by seeking to conclude EVFTA and IPA without due consideration to human rights, and failing to include monitoring mechanisms in the agreement, despite a strong resolution adopted by the EP in 2018...