TIẾNG NÓI TỰ DO DÂN CHỦ
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) made the following remarks at a bipartisan press conference he held on the steps of the Capitol today with other House members and Vietnamese rights advocates:
President Obama gave up one of the few remaining leverage points that the United States has in exchange for vague promises of expanded port use by the U.S. Navy. This was an epic failure of diplomacy. It was shortsighted, misguided, and failed to advance long-term U.S. interests.
Vietnam needs the U.S. markets and security commitments much more than the U.S. needs Vietnam’s markets and security cooperation.
Vietnam would have offered the U.S. Navy port access without condition, given China’s advances in the South China Sea. Thus, the President got nothing for lifting the arms embargo and nothing for including Vietnam in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
However, the American people get to continue subsidizing the repression of democracy advocates and religious groups. That is the definition of a bad deal.
Over 100 prisoners of conscience remain detained, including human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai. I met with Nguyen Van Dai in 2005 and his courageous wife Vu Minh Khanh testified at a subcommittee hearing two weeks ago.
I also met Fr. Nguyen Van Ly on trip to Vietnam in 2005. His release, only a couple months prior to his sentence ending, should not be considered a human rights breakthrough. Fr. Ly went into prison healthy and vigorous, but emerged sickly and broken.
Before his trip, Members of Congress urged the President to condition further expansion of trade benefits and security partnerships on significant, verifiable, and irreversible improvements in human rights in Vietnam.
We argued repeatedly that failure to condition Vietnam’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2007 lead to the a massive crackdown on dissidents, labor activists, and religious leaders and introduced sweeping new laws restricting freedom of association, assembly and the Internet.
In short, Vietnam’s WTO membership allowed the Communist government free license to jail, torture and abuse.
Why would we expect Vietnam to act differently now?
The President’s visits to Cuba and Vietnam share the same sad pattern. He is more interested in photo-ops with dictators than standing up for persecuted individuals who share our values of freedom and human rights.
He touts the benefits of engagement, but offers economic and security benefits without conditions, giving dictators unwarranted legitimacy.
This is not smart diplomacy, it is surrender of U.S. interests and values. Sadly, the President’s legacy will be the propping up of a Communist old guard when he should be standing with the new generation of freedom advocates seeking our rights and freedoms more than our trade.
That is why I’m making a push again to pass the Vietnam Human Rights Act. This bill passed four times in the House, only to be stalled in the Senate.
The bipartisan Vietnam Human Rights Act will restore the right priorities to U.S. policy toward Vietnam and will limit U.S. non-humanitarian assistance that goes to Vietnam until there are concrete human rights protection.
Vietnam should also be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for religious freedom violations. This designation carries with it potential sanctions and visa denials for Vietnamese government officials complicit in religious freedom abuses.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended that Vietnam be given this dubious distinction it its newly released Annual Report. That report provides compelling evidence of egregious and ongoing religious freedom violations in Vietnam.
The President should follow USCIRF’s recommendation and immediately designate Vietnam as a CPC.
The Communist Party is not Vietnam’s future, that future lies with Nguyen Van Dai and the many other advocates of political reform and human rights who seek our freedoms more than our trade.
U.S. policy must send the unmistakable message to the Government of Vietnam that human rights improvements are fundamental to better relations, critically linked to our mutual economic and security interests, and will not be ignored or bargained away.
The President failed to send this message. It is up to the Congress, and the next Administration, to restore the right priorities to U.S.-Vietnam relations.
Liên lạc: Elise Phuong Ho: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thời gian: 3pm ngày 24 tháng 5, 2016
Địa điểm: House Triangle, Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ
Washington, DC – Một buổi họp báo sẽ được đồng tổ chức bởi Dân Biểu Christopher Smith và BPSOS tại Quốc Hội Hoa Kỳ vào lúc 3 giờ chiều ngày Thứ Ba 24 tháng 5 tại khuôn viên House Triangle của Toà Nhà Quốc Hội (Capitol). Sẽ có sự tham gia của nhiều vị dân biểu và đại diện của các tổ chức nhân quyền.
Mục đích của buổi họp báo khẩn cấp này là để lên tiếng đối với quyết định của Tổng Thống Obama về dỡ bỏ hoàn toàn lệnh cấm vận vũ khí sát thương đối với Việt Nam trong khi tình trạng vi phạm nhân quyền ở quốc gia này vẫn tiếp tục nghiêm trọng.
New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District
Chairman of the House Global Human Rights Subcommittee, Chairman of Congressional-Executive China Commission, Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeff Sagnip (202) 225-3765
May 23, 2016 http://chrissmith.house.gov
Press Conf. Set for Tues., May 24 @ 3 p.m.
Human Rights Leaders to Speak Out on Abuses in Vietnam, President’s Visit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Human rights and congressional leaders advocating for victims of widespread abuses, religious persecution and political repression at the hands of the Vietnamese Government will gather for a press conference Tuesday in response to President Obama visiting Vietnam. The press conference participants will call for an end to Vietnam’s instruments of repression and the release of all prisoners of conscience.
What: Press conference on human rights issues and President Obama’s trip to Vietnam
When: Tues., May 24, 2016 @ 3 p.m.
Where: The House Triangle, pictured on right, is located in the grassy triangle area on the Capitol Building’s East Front lawn, just off Independence Ave. near New Jersey Ave.
For the latest updates to this advisory, visit: http://chrissmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398989
“Việt Nam tiếp tục bắt giam các tù nhân lương tâm thuộc mọi giới, từ các luật sư nhân quyền, bloggers, cho đến các nhà hoạt động vì quyền lao động và các vị lãnh đạo tôn giáo. Nếu Việt Nam muốn xây dựng một mối quan hệ mạnh mẽ hơn với Hoa Kỳ, và trước khi Hoa Kỳ bán bất kỳ vũ khí sát thương nào cho Việt Nam, thì chính quyền CSVN phải bắt đầu tôn trọng các quyền tự do và căn bản của người dân Việt Nam.”