Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (10 January) in response to the sentencing of a number of bloggers in Viet Nam:
I am appalled that 14 activists have been handed hefty prison sentences for their work in the service of democracy and human rights. These people were exercising their right to freedom of expression. In signing up to the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Viet Nam has pledged to guarantee its citizens’ freedom of expression.
I call on the Government of Viet Nam to release these 14 people as well as all other political prisoners with immediate effect and to fulfil its human rights obligations.
On 9 January 2013, 14 human rights activists in Viet Nam’s Nghe An province received sentences of up to 13 years in prison for their work to promote political reform, democratization and human rights. In one of those cases, the sentence has been suspended.