04 tháng 1 2013

A Call for Concrete Implementation of Human Rights Stipulated in Vietnam’s Constitution

Bản dịch tiếng Anh “Lời kêu gọi thực thi quyền con người theo Hiến pháp tại Việt Nam”

A Call for Concrete Implementation of Human Rights Stipulated in Vietnam’s Constitution
We, the undersigned Vietnamese, call upon the government and the people ofVietnamto concretely implement the human rights stipulated in the Constitution of Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) and international covenants thatVietnamhas recognized and signed. Among these rights are the rights of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, access to information, and the rights to congregation, association, and demonstration established in Article 69 of the 1992 Constitution (which was amended in 2001) as well as in Articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Vietnam officially assented to in 1982.
The Declaration of Independence that Chairman Ho Chi Minh read on the September 2, 1945, not only reiterated the universal human rights enshrined in the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United Statesand the 1791 French Revolution’s declaration on human and citizen rights but also reaffirmed that “these are indisputable rights.”
Given the above, we call upon the National Assembly of Vietnam to strike out Article 88 of the Penal Code on “anti-state propaganda crimes” and to rescind Decree 38/2005/ND-CP that the government issued on March 18, 2005 in order to “institute a number of measures to guarantee public order.”
Article 88 of the Penal Code, which defines very vaguely anti-state propaganda crimes, is in fact a means to strangle the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution of Vietnam and in international covenants on civil and political rights. Citizens’ criticism of and opposition to government’s regulations, laws, policies, and bureaucracy are but necessary and normal activities in a democratic and progressive society. Under Article 88 of the Penal Code, however, any citizen engaging in any such activities could be summarily punished. Many Vietnamese citizens have been subjected to criminal proceedings, trials, and jail terms based on the vague definition of the crimes stated in Article 88. As a result, there has been much resentment among the population and criticism in the world community on human rights inVietnam.
Decree 38/2005/ND-CP of March 18, 2005 is in reality a decree that bans demonstrations and its enactment has been unconstitutional. According to Articles 50 and 51 of the 1992 Constitution (amended in 2001), human and citizen rights are defined by the Constitution and by laws passed by the National Assembly. The government does not have the authority to define these rights as well as to limit, bar, and ban them. Right after proclaiming the Declaration of Independence Chairman Ho Chi Minh issued Edict no. 31 on September 13, 1945, which stated that demonstrations are fundamental rights in a democratic system and that citizens only have to inform local authorities of their intents prior to staging demonstrations. Since then Edict no. 31 has not been rescinded by any law and therefore is still legally binding. Decree 38 mentioned above is in direct violation of this Edict as well the stipulations in the current Constitution and in international covenants on political and civil rights. Therefore it must be immediately abolished.
We call upon the entire national community to demand government authorities at all levels to strictly implement human and citizen rights as stated in the Constitution of Vietnam and in international covenants thatVietnamhas accessed to.
We suggest that lawyers, jurists, and law teachers engage in outreach efforts aim at explaining thoroughly human rights issues to fellow citizens, government authorities, security forces, armed forces, militia units, and various organizations under the Father Front so that all Vietnamese citizens would also be able to have the human rights currently enjoyed by other peoples in the world.
We call upon cadres, administrators, soldiers and officers in the governmental system to respect and guarantee human rights as stated in the constitution and in international covenants and not to blindly carry out orders that violate these rights.
Implementing and ensuring human rights inVietnamwould create the necessary conditions for establishing a “peaceful, unified, independent, democratic, prosperous, and strong” Vietnamese nation that could gain its rightful place in the world community. This is also the most effective way for achieving the national reconciliation and concord that everyone has been yearning for.
In order to achieve the rights stated above the National Assembly should, first of all, abolish Article 88 of the Penal Code and Decree 38/ND-CP/2005 and demand that the Government free all prisoners who had publicly and peacefully expressed their political opinions.
Once again we call upon the entire national community to be resolute in implementing fundamental human rights and demand the Government to respect and guarantee these rights. We urge compatriots inside and outside the country to express your approval of this call by signing it and by rallying support for it.
We believe that the struggle of the Vietnamese people for human rights will increasingly gain the approval and support of people around the world.

December 25. 2012.

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