Media Release Viet Labor 01st March 2013
Chương-Hùng-Hạnh: UN wants them freed, their torture investigated, and rejects Hanoi’s ‘domestic law’ argument
Viet Labor 01st March 2013: Chương, Hùng, and Hạnh are among people jailed in Vietnam for advocating for workers’ rights. The United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has just formally stated that they should be freed and compensated, and that the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture should investigate their torture. Significantly for Vietnam’s thousands of prisoners of conscience, WGAD reiterated that Hanoi’s use of the ‘domestic laws’ argument is unacceptable because such laws allowing jailing prisoners of conscience are invalid.
The WGAD made the above conclusions in its document “Opinion No. 42/2012” after receiving a submission last year from Chương, Hùng, and Hạnh’s families represented by US law firm Woodley and McGillivary and assisted by Freedom Now, and a submission from Canadian lawyer Lâm Chấn Thọ on behalf of Viet Labor, plus defence arguments by Vietnam.
29. Regarding the alleged violation of national legislation referred to by the Government, namely article 89 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, the Working Group in its previous opinions No. 46/2011 (Viet Nam), No. 1/2009 (Viet Nam), and No. 1/2003 (Viet Nam), reiterated that..it is required to ensure that national law is consistent with the..Universal Declaration of Human Rights.. Consequently, even if the detention is in conformity with national legislation, the Working Group must ensure that it is also consistent with..international law.
30. In its response, the Government does not address the specific allegations of grave violations..that petitioners were deprived of the right to communicate with counsel..that the petitioners did not have defence lawyers present at the trial and were not allowed to speak in their defence.
Note: Viet Labor (Free Viet Labor Federation, laodongViet.org) is a federation of labor rights groups inside and outside Vietnam, currently: Viet Labor Movement, United Workers-Farmers Organization, and the Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers.