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Since 2022, Vietnam has been emerging from the shadow cast by a two-year pandemic by reopening policies and assisting in the restoration of socioeconomic activities. People’s lives have gradually resumed back to their normal course.
On the other hand, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s anti-corruption campaign has intensified, resulting in the dismissals, investigations, and prosecutions of a large number of officials from local to central levels. Healthcare, education, finance, diplomacy, and law enforcement are among the government sectors being most scrutinized. Not only senior officials but also famous business executives have been arrested, revealing complicated relationships and market manipulation agreements between officials and businesses.
Trong’s “blazing furnace” is on an unprecedented scale in terms of the areas investigated, the number of high-ranking officials and large corporations involved. With constant and overwhelming information in the press and public focus on new arrests, it is not an exaggeration to say that the corruption fight has overshadowed many other social inadequacies, including human rights violations. However, many significant human rights events, as well as serious violations, occurred in 2022.
Vietnam’s human rights record has remained poor over the years. Civil and political rights have been primarily violated, with freedom of expression and freedom of assembly being the two most severely and systematically violated rights. The year 2022 also saw a lot of harassment and repression targeting religious freedom of both small independent religious groups and well-founded religious institutions.
According to the press, in 2022, at least 32 people were arrested for security crimes such as attempting to overthrow the government (Art. 109 of the 2015 Penal Code), propaganda against the state (Art. 117 of the 2015 Penal Code or Art .88 1999 Penal Code), resisting public enforcer on duties (Art. 330 2015 Penal Code), and abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state, legitimate rights and interest of individuals and other organizations (Art. 331 2015 Penal Code). Among them, anti-state propaganda and abusing democratic freedoms still dominate as the most common accusations.
Also in the past year, at least 62 people were tried and sentenced to prison for political reasons. In which, 24 people were sentenced to long-term imprisonment for allegedly carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the government due to their association with the Provisional National Government of Vietnam from overseas; 13 people were tried on charges of resisting public enforcers on duty and 11 people for abusing democratic freedoms. Also, 4 leaders of local NGOs were tried at first instance and appellate court on charges of tax evasion; 3 followers of Duong Van Minh were tried for violating regulations on safety in crowded places. In addition, there was a case where the person was sentenced for violation of both Article 117 and Article 305 of the 2015 Penal Code (illegal possession of explosives).
This report will list and briefly analyze the events and human rights violations recorded by the drafting team from January 1, 2022 to December 10, 2022. The report is divided into 5 parts:
Part 1: Introduction to the Vietnamese context and a brief overview of the human rights situation
Part 2: Methodology
Part 3: Review of good human rights practices and achievements in 2022
Part 4: Listing and analyzing human rights violations in 5 groups of rights and issues. Part 5: Conclusion
Within the limitation of this report, not all human rights violations can be covered; we
can only focus on 5 areas that, in our assessment, are the most prominent, providing the overall picture of human rights practices in Vietnam over the past year. The issues discussed are freedom of speech and freedom of the press; freedom of assembly; the rights of persons deprived of liberty; freedom of religion; and land rights.
Human Rights Information Center