Re: The Vietnamese Authorities’ Blatant Violations of the Human Rights of Huynh Ngoc Tuan Family for: Violations of Freedom of Speech, of Privacy of Habitation; Assault and Battery; Defamation; and Illegal Confiscation of Private Property.
The Honorable Secretary General of the United Nations
The Congress of the United States
The U.S. Government
The U.S. Department of State
The Human Rights Commission of the United Nations and Other Human Rights Organizations
On November 8, 2011, the authorities of Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, amassed a 200-strong uniformed and plainclothes police force to blockade and surround my residence at Unit 1, Phu Quy Hamlet, Tam Phu Village, Tam Ky District, Quang Nam Province (the residence belongs to my two sisters who provide lodging to me and my two children as I cannot afford housing after being imprisoned for 10 years and under house arrest for another 4 years). The police, in coordination with the Inspection Team of the Office of Information and Telecommunication of the Quang Nam Province, then raided the residence, searched, and seized a computer, a separate CPU, a Canon printer, a pair of computer speakers, an Internet router, under the pretext that my children and I used these pieces of equipment as means of “disseminating information against the Vietnamese Communist Party and the Vietnamese Government.”
The authorities then directed online news channels to publish articles defaming me and my two children. Further, on November 22, 2011, the major news outlets controlled by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam simultaneously reported in advance that the government had imposed on me and my two children a fine of the sum of 260 million dong (Vietnamese currency, around 13,000 U.S. Dollars) for “administrative violations” of the information industry.
At 3 pm on December 2, 2011, approximately 100 policemen invaded our residence and blocked all points of entry and exit. They then proceeded to inflict bodily harm on my mother Pham Thi Yen, my daughter Huynh Thuc Vy, my son Huynh Trong Hieu, and my sisters Huynh Thi Huong and Huynh Thi Thu Hong. The policemen next read three citations against my family for, again, alleged administrative violations of information industry regulations, resulting in fines as follows: $100 million dong (around 4,800 U.S. Dollars)) against me, $85 million dong (around 4,100 U.S. Dollars) against my daughter Huynh Thuc Vy, and $85 million dong (around 4,100 U.S. Dolars) against my son Huynh Trong Hieu. The policemen went on to seize a Canon camera, six mobile phones belonging to my family, and my nephew Huynh Ngoc Le (who was sporting a T-shirt which bore a slogan against China’s U-shaped maritime demarcation line in the South China Sea) for “interference with government officials in carrying out their duties” (my nephew was trying to shield my daughter against beatings by the policemen). After the police had left our premises, my sisters discovered that they had stolen 3,000 dollars in mixed currency of the U.S., Canada, and Australia from our cupboard.
In the citation of the alleged administrative violations, the authorities stressed that the fines be paid by the deadline of December 22, 2011. The authorities warned that if the fines were not paid by the due date, compulsory measures would be taken. Ever since, we have been distressingly worried as to what additional steps the government is contemplating against us.
All the actions taken so far by the Vietnamese communist authorities against my family have gravely violated the basic human rights stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which the Vietnamese government formally signed in 1978. This declaration states:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
The Vietnamese communist authorities have been carrying out the following activities with regularity and dangerous precedents:
– Smearing the honor and dignity, suppressing, harassing, and brutally terrorizing those who peacefully express their viewpoints, especially political ones.
– Illegally confiscating properties; assaulting; beating; and detaining innocent people.
The Vietnamese communist authorities have been using all possible brutal tricks to silence and exterminate opposing points of view all over Vietnam. Vietnamese have never enjoyed any basic freedom and human rights stated in the Declaration. Our dignity, integrity, human rights, and freedoms are being brutally trampled on by the Vietnamese communist authorities.
In the face of a dangerous and urgent situation of having our basic human rights—as stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights— blatantly violated, we earnestly beseech you, with your role and influence on international matters, to please ask the Vietnamese communist authorities to:
1. Respect the spirit of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
2. Cease their brutal suppression of the freedom of expression by myself and my two children.
3. Release at once my innocent nephew, Huynh Ngoc Le.
4. Compensate for the damages, both mental and physical, suffered by all members of my family.
5. Reimburse, by way of equivalent cash money, all the items taken away from our house.
6. Cease all illegal brutal acts against all members of my family and all articles smearing our dignity and integrity published in government-controlled news outlets.
We urgently ask for your intervention for our basic human rights and our safety.
Tam Ky District, Quang Nam Province, December 3, 2011
Huỳnh Ngọc Tuấn
And the children:
Huỳnh Thục Vy,
Huỳnh Trọng Hiếu