United States Vice President Kamala Harris stressed out human rights issues throughout a conference with Vietnamese civil society leaders and after that once again in an interview prior to leaving Hanoi on Thursday– a day after a state critic was imprisoned on charges of subversion.
“We will always be true to our values and we will not shy away from speaking out even when those conversations may be difficult to have and perhaps difficult to hear,” Harris stated.
During the conversation with Vietnamese “changemakers” at the United States ambassador’s house, Harris consulted with supporters from Vietnamese social advocacy companies that concentrate on problems associated with specials needs, transgender rights, and the environment.
“Transgender people deserve equal access to health care service. This is an issue we still face in the United States and it is an issue here in Vietnam,” Harris stated.
She included that “women need to live free of gender-based violence” and that ” individuals with specials needs require complete ease of access.”
Vietnam has long been criticized for its human rights record, particularly the silencing of criticism of the ruling Communist Party.
On Wednesday, a court in south-central Phu Yen province sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for “engaging in activities to overthrow the people’s administration.”
“The US and Vietnam hold different opinions about human rights,” said Pham Quang Minh, a former dean of the University for Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi. “Vietnam always says there are no political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, but rather that people are arrested for breaking the law.”
“That is why Vietnam continues to arrest people who criticize the government under anti-state charges or breaking cybersecurity laws,” Minh added.
Nguyen Quang A, a retired banker, and prominent dissident activist told dpa:
“When the two sides discuss human rights, the Vietnamese government always says they will listen. But listening is one thing, doing is another. I would never have high expectations for changes to human rights issues in Vietnam after the visit of a vice president.”
Rights group Amnesty International stated in a December 2020 report that they continue to chronicle approximate arrests and prosecutions of human rights protectors. The report likewise recorded a record variety of detainees of conscience, 40 percent of whom lag bars for their social networks usage.
Harris’ check out, which started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday with a flight to Hawaii, marks the very first time a United States vice president has actually checked out because the Vietnam War ended in 1975.