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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7518

Vietnam: Human Rights

Debate resumed on motion by Mr Hayes:

That this House:

(1) notes with concern that on 30 May 2011 in the People's Court of Ben Tre, Vietnam, the following seven people were tried and convicted under Section 2 of Article 79 of the penal code, 'Attempting to overthrow the people's administration':

(a) Ms Tran Thi Thuy (8 years imprisonment and 5 years probation);

(b) Mr Pham Van Thong (7 years and 5 years probation);

(c) Pastor Duong Kim Khai (6 years and 5 years probation);

(d) Mr Cao Van Tinh (5 years and 4 years probation);

(e) Mr Nguyen Thanh Tam (2 years and 3 years probation);

(f) Mr Nguyen Chi Thanh (2 years and 3 years probation); and

(g) Ms Pham Ngoc Hoa (2 years and 3 years probation);

(2) further notes all seven were advocates for democratic reform, and had:

(a) participated in non-violent protest;

(b) prepared and distributed material affirming Vietnamese sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands;

(c) petitioned the State for redress on behalf of local landholders; and

(d) as members of the 'Cattle Shed Congregation' of the Mennonite Church, engaged in peaceful advocacy for social justice;

(3) expresses its concern that the authorities of Vietnam appear to be using legal processes to rationalise human rights abuse and to silence peaceful opposition; and

(4) calls on the Government to use the full weight of its diplomatic relations with Vietnam to lobby for substantial reform in human rights and basic freedoms in accordance with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both Australia and Vietnam are parties