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Viet human rights dire: US

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Viet human rights dire: US

WASHINGTON – HUMAN rights in communist Vietnam remained at an ‘unsatisfactory’ level in the last year, according to the US State Department, citing police and government corruption and restrictions on political opposition.

In its annual global report, the United States described Vietnam as an authoritarian state in which dissidence was prohibited and people were arbitrarily detained for political activities.
Vietnam’s government held ‘at least 35 political detainees’ by the end of 2008, the US report said, also citing international observer claims that the number ‘ranged into the hundreds.’

Human trafficking continued to be a significant problem, according to the State Department, as well as violence and discrimination against women.

The report found widespread examples of governmental corruption, and highlighted a lack of transparency in Vietnam’s practice of ‘confiscating land and moving citizens to make way for infrastructure projects.’ Vietnamese authorities rejected last year’s State Department report, saying it was not objective and based on ‘false and prejudiced information.’

The Vietnamese response held that the country in recent years ‘made great achievements in ensuring and developing its citizens’ freedom in all fields, including freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of information.’

This years US report that covered 2008, however, said the southeast Asian nation continued to restrict freedoms of expression, ‘particularly with respect to speech that criticized individual government leaders, promoted political pluralism or multiparty democracy.’

The report highlighted a September 19 police beating of the Hanoi bureau chief of the Associated Press news agency, following an attempt to photograph a prayer vigil at the former residence of the Pope’s diplomatic representative.

In a glimmer of light in the report, the US agency said provisions for people with disabilities improved in 2008.

Vietnam’s transportation authorities worked to implement accessibility for disabled people, and enforcement units made sure new government and public buildings included access for persons with disabilities, the report said.

Vietnam’s communist regime has been in place since US troops pulled out of the Vietnam war in April 1975.

The bitter conflict left 58,000 US servicemen dead and killed some three million Vietnamese, according to official Vietnamese figures. — AFP

Written by tristhefall

February 26, 2009 at 9:42 am

Posted in Common

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