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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12794

Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (13:45): I rise in support of freedom and democracy in Vietnam. There is a campaign called Million Hearts, One Voice which is campaigning for democracy in Vietnam and calling for the release of all political dissidents from prison. This campaign was launched over a week ago and is being supported by many pro-democracy organisations and groups. Some 40,000 people have already signed the petition, and the target is 100,000 by International Amnesty Day on 10 December 2012. The Vietnamese community in Western Australia is joining the campaign, and groups within Western Australia are actively supporting it. I am pleased to offer my support for this campaign and I have recently signed the petition as well.

The petition seeks international investigation of the situation of arbitrary detention, inhumane prison conditions and a lack of legal process in Vietnam. It also demands that the Vietnamese government respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and repeal vague national security laws such as articles 79 and 88 of the Vietnamese penal code which are often the pretext for arbitrary arrest and detention. Finally, it urges the Vietnamese government to immediately release all political prisoners.

The situation in Vietnam is not good. Many people are detained because of their views on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This petition goes some way towards highlighting arbitrary detention and the brutality of the regime. I call upon all present here, and everyone in Australia who would like to support Vietnam, to sign the petition.