Target: President Truong Tan Sang
Goal: Ensure Vietnam’s revised constitution includes human rights protections that meet international standards.
Vietnam’s parliament is meeting between October 21 and November 30, 2013, to consider amendments to the nation’s constitution. Human rights activists are urging Vietnam to take advantage of this historic opportunity to ensure that international human rights standards are incorporated into the constitution.
Vietnam’s constitution has been in place since 1992, and not been revised since 2001. Despite the strength of the Communist Ruling Party, human rights activists in Vietnam and around the world are hoping that the parliament will seize the moment to give rights to their people. Despite being a one-party nation that is controlled by the Communist Party, the National Assembly is responsible for amending the constitution.
The current draft of the Constitution mentions human rights repeatedly within the text, which is an improvement over the previous draft. It also mention how rights are inherent for the Vietnamese people. The previous draft had vague notions of human rights, and made little mention of their applying to every human being. The newer draft also touches upon discrimination, access to legal counsel, fair trials, forced labor, and the establishment of a Constitutional Council. However, there are severe restrictions on the people’s freedom of speech. The Communist Party is still allowed to claim itself as the leader of the country, and that it is essentially the voice of the Vietnamese people.
Activists are hoping for genuine reform, and this means granting the Vietnamese people their inherent rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and association. Today, claiming that you are not of the Communist Party, or that you are against it, could land a Vietnamese citizen with heavy fines and jail time. Many Vietnamese people are already protesting the law in their nation, and have even gone to jail for expressing their views. Help support their cause and sign this petition to push for change in Vietnam.
Dear President Truong Tan Sang,
I am writing this letter imploring you to ensure that international human rights are included in your nation’s constitution. It has come to my attention that during October 21 to November 30, 2013, your country’s National Assembly will decide on revisions to the current constitution. This is an unprecedented and historical event and I would like to see your nation’s constitution include freedom of speech, assembly, and association.
Your people are demanding these rights, and many are in jail because your country has made it illegal for them to express themselves or identify with another ruling party. I believe it is time for Vietnam to amend their nation’s constitution to include these basic, inherent rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: CSIS via Wikimedia