Freedom of Expression and Assembly in Vietnam and Cambodia


An article from Amnesty International Canada

On September 2, 17,000 prisoners are expected to be released in an act of mass amnesty marking Vietnam’s National Day. This is the largest expected prisoner release in Vietnam’s history.

Housing rights march, Cambodia, December 2013

We are working to ensure that the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia adhere to international human rights laws and standards related to freedom of expression and assembly. We will not only take action ourselves towards government officials but we will support those parts of civil society in each country which are aware of their rights under international law and are attempting to enforce them. In particular there is an increased willingness on the part of many Cambodians to stand up for their rights. Information about the lack of access to freedom of expression and assembly – and its place in international human rights law – will be shared with local activists.

Vietnam has at least 75 prisoners of conscience and 100’s of political prisoners, in addition to many national human rights defenders and activists whose activity is criminalized rather than seen as acceptable under international standards. Also Cambodia harasses, intimidates and imprisons those who attempt to exercise their right to expression and assembly – and offers impunity to those who perpetrate human rights abuses against them.

We will work through online awareness campaigns and individual actions on behalf of prisoners of conscience and those in need of urgent action.
In 2014 we managed to initiate a mission to Vietnam – the first in decades. In both countries there were welcome releases of small numbers of individuals for whom Amnesty had campaigned. 2015 will see us continue our research leading to action on behalf of individual prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders. A report on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Cambodia is planned.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Question(s) related to this article: