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International Human Rights Day in Vietnam Marked By Launch of Blogger Network

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Vietnam Flag (Wikipedia)

Today a coalition of Vietnamese bloggers launched the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers (NVB), a new advocacy and watchdog group that will hold the Vietnamese government accountable for their United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) obligations and commitments. The launch was set for December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

The decision to form a network was made after Vietnam was elected to the UNHRC for the 2014 – 2016 term.

These are the demands of the group, as reported by Index on Censorship:

Agree to the 7 UN requests not yet met by the Vietnamese government which would allow UN delegates to visit Vietnam to investigate alleged human rights violations, / End torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment of any and all Vietnamese citizens, / Release those currently imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression and other rights based on core and universal values of UN treaties, / Repeal vaguely-worded laws and decrees which are arbitrarily interpreted, / End the state monopoly on media and publishing, ensure that all individuals and organisations [sic] are entitled to establish media agencies and publishing house, / Remove firewalls that bar users accessing social media networks.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the Bangkok Post reports, the police prevented at least 15 people from attending a meeting of the group Vietnamese Women For Human Rights.

Other demonstrations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this weekend were also broken up by police. These encroachments on Vietnamese citizens' rights only underscore the need for groups like the NVB to stand up for their rights of expression, online and off.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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