July 24, 2007
Washington, D.C. – Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today sent a letter to Vietnamese President Triet, expressing her “serious disappointment regarding the treatment of the peaceful protesters in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007.” The letter, which calls on the Vietnamese President to personally explain the brutal crackdown on peaceful human rights activists, was also forwarded to Secretary of State Rice. The letter also states that Vietnam is failing to meet the human rights standards that the Unites States expects from its trading partners and that it must make a strong commitment to the promotion of human rights.
The complete text of the letter is below:July 24, 2007 His Excellency
c/o Embassy of Vietnam
1233 20th Street, NW #400
Washington, DC 20036
Dear President Triet:
I am writing to express my serious disappointment regarding the treatment of the peaceful protesters in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007. It is my understanding that approximately 1,500 Vietnamese police were dispatched to break up a peaceful sit-in of 1,700 peasants. I have seen reports that approximately 30 peasants were severely injured through acts of violence by the police.
As a Member of Congress who has advocated for human rights in Vietnam, I am very concerned about these reports of police violence at a peaceful sit-in. I am especially concerned given that you recently visited with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on June 22 and she expressed to you the importance of human rights in the relationship between the United States and Vietnam. She and other Members of Congress have made it clear that if the relationship between our two countries is to develop, Vietnam must make a strong commitment to the promotion of human rights.
In fact, prior to Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization, you and President Bush affirmed that human rights must be an inexorable part of Vietnam’s integration into the world community. These sentiments were echoed by President Bush during your recent visit to the United States.
Given the discussion of the importance of human rights at your June 2007 meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Members of Congress, I am disappointed and disturbed by the reports of police brutality in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007. I expect to see the Government of Vietnam pay serious attention to human rights. The continued reports of human rights violations in Vietnam in the recent months are failing to convince the people of the United States that Vietnam meets the human rights standards expected of trading partners and members of the international community.
I would like to hear from you directly why these violent actions were taken by the police against peaceful protestors.
Member of Congress