Continued persecution against environmental activists in Vietnam
Dang Vu Luong, a member of Green Trees – one of the most active and vocal environmentalist organizations in Vietnam – was arrested, detained and interrogated last week without a warrant. He is the second member of Green Trees to be arrested this year, allegedly for an independent movie 'Don't be afraid'.
As reported by Green Trees, on the morning of August 22 2019, Dang Vu Luong was “invited” by local and district police as well as officers from the Ministry of Public Security, to an interrogation. There was no report of any warrants issued for the arrest of Luong, neither were there any lawyers present during his detention. His interrogation lasted for more than 10 hours and included questions about other Green Trees members, and the documentary “Don’t be Afraid” produced by Green Trees. The film captures the environmentalist movement in Vietnam following the marine life disaster along Central Vietnam’s coastline caused by the Taiwanese steel plant Formosa in 2016.
The questions also involved Pham Doan Trang, a prominent human rights and pro-democracy activist, who has faced multiple attacks due to her writings about human rights and politics in Vietnam. Pham Doan Trang received the Homo Homini award from People in Need in 2018 for her contribution to the protection of fundamental freedom of expression in Vietnam.
Just a couple months earlier, in June 2019, Cao Vinh Thinh, also a member of Green Trees, was detained on her way to Thailand from the Hanoi airport, followed by a 10-hour interrogation, also about the documentary “Don’t be Afraid.” In March 2019 she was abducted in public, reportedly for the same movie.
Green Trees, established in 2015, has been on the frontline of the environmentalist movement in Vietnam, making themselves known for the campaign to protect 6,700 aged trees from being cut down by Hanoi authorities in 2015, the campaign against Formosa, and others.
People in Need call for an immediate end of harassment and intimidation of Dang Vu Luong, as well as Cao Vinh Thinh and Pham Doan Trang.
We urge Vietnam to uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms of these activists, including their right to freedom of expression, right to liberty and security of person, and the right to freedom of movement – as enshrined in the Vietnamese 2013 Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.