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14 Jul 2021

Judith Kirton-Darling, Chair of the EU DAG for EU-Vietnam DAG

Vietnam: EVFTA Domestic Advisory Group writes to EU Commission over arrest of CS members

" Letter from the European Union Domestic Advisory Group under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement", 14 July 2021

The EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) set up under Chapter 13 of the EU-Vietnam has received concerning reports of the the arrest announced on 2nd July 2021 by Security Police in Hanoi of two prominent civil society activists, journalist Mai Phan Lợi, chair of the Scientific Board of the Centre for Media in Educating Community (MEC) and lawyer Đặng Đình Bách, director of the Law and Policy for Sustainable Development (LPSD)...

Mai Phan Lợi and Đặng Đình Bách are both Executive Board members of VNGO-EVFTA Network, a group of seven development and environmental CSOs established last November to raise awareness about EVFTA and its civil society component in Vietnam, the Vietnam Domestic Advisory Group (DAG). All seven of the organizations (including MEC and LPSD) submitted applications for membership of the Vietnam DAG (1), but have received no reply. Now two of their members are under arrest...

As you will recall, at the beginning of June, the EU DAG took the unusual step of issuing a statement about the creation of the counterpart DAG in Vietnam. “Civil society engagement and scrutiny of the EVFTA is not an optional element of the agreement” as recalled by the EU DAG last month, but is actually an essential element of the agreement1. We reiterate the importance of civil society space and the inclusion of independent civil society organisations in the DAGs as mandated by the FTA’s Trade and Sustainable Development chapter...