Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Luise Amtsberg on the decision by a Hanoi court of appeal to uphold the sentencing of human rights defender Pham Doan Trang to nine years’ imprisonment

25.08.2022 - Press release

The rejection of Pham Doan Trang’s appeal is a further severe setback for human rights and civil society in Viet Nam. Pham Doan Trang is a journalist, writer and activist who has campaigned for civil liberties, the rule of law and environmental protection for many years. For her courageous work, she is now set to spend nine years in prison. This is an outrage.

The confirmation of her sentence follows numerous other rulings against environmental activists and representatives of Vietnamese civil society this year. With its repression of individuals and non-governmental organisations, the Vietnamese Government is increasingly restricting civic engagement – which is a valuable source of creativity, innovation and international integration.

I call on the Vietnamese Government to push for the release of Pham Doan Trang and other human rights defenders and to put an end to repressive measures. I also call on the Government to safeguard rule-of-law principles in criminal proceedings and to give access to international observers.

Background information:

Pham Doan Trang is among the most important and well-known Vietnamese human rights defenders. She took part in a fellowship at the artists’ residence Villa Aurora in Los Angeles, which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office. In 2022, she received the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award and the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Thanks to her work and publications on a broad range of issues – including women’s rights and LGBTI rights, the environment, police violence and land rights – she plays a prominent role in Vietnamese civil society.

International observers have stated that the proceedings against Trang did not comply with rule-of-law principles. In addition, international embassy representatives were not permitted to act as observers. This is the last, for now, in a series of appeals by seven activists over the last two weeks; most of their sentences were upheld and some of them will now spend years in prison.


Top of page