Archive for Human Rights Violations

Blood Cashews: Forced Labor at Vietnam’s Rehab Centers

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on September 10, 2011 by Ian Pham

A disturbing new finding has surfaced, showing how evil the Communist government in Vietnam really is. Recent reports have shown that Vietnam’s rehab patients are subjected to forced labor.  They get paid next to nothing for their pain and suffering, and are not permitted to leave the rehab centers for years at a time.  Patients who refuse to work are either beaten severely, thrown in solitary confinement, and shocked with electric batons.  Not only would the officials at the rehab centers keep the patients in custody for two to three years, but they would extend the patients stay for another several years, labeling the confinement as “post-rehabilitation management.”  Basically, drug addicted individuals check into rehab, thinking they are receiving help from the government.  What they are really getting out of it however, is imprisonment and exploitation.

Of all the different jobs that the drug-addicted patients are forced to perform, peeling cashew nuts is the most common of all. Vietnam is one of the world’s largest importers of cashew nuts, with the United States and many European countries being the biggest buyers of their products.  The majority of these cashews are hand-peeled and handled by the addicted patients from Vietnam’s detention facilities.  The patients are basically prisoners of the Vietnamese government, exploited and abused into providing cheap labor for the Communist Party.  For all the hours of hard work they are forced to put in, which ranges from 6-10 hours a day, the workers would be lucky to receive a few dollars a month.  Even if they were lucky enough to be paid, the center would slap them with charges for services and whatnot, leaving them with nothing in the very end.  With all the pain and suffering that has been put into the selling of these cashew nuts, the media has labelled the products from Vietnam as “blood cashews.”

The Communist Party has committed atrocities on its own citizens for more than 35 years.  This is just the latest in a cycle of evil and greed that has characterized the Party long before they ever became the rulers of the country.  There are currently 123 “drug rehabilitation” centers in Vietnam, trapping over 40,000 poor lives who believed that they were going to get treatments for their respective habits.  When finally released, the victims are intimidated and threatened into keeping silent.  It should be clear by now that these “rehab centers” in Vietnam are not rehab at all.  If all the evidence is not indication enough, the relapse rate of rehab patients in Vietnam ranges from 70-80%.  Andrew Marshall of Time Magazine suggests that the relapse rate may even be higher than that, possibly as high as 95%.  It is a heartbreaking truth, but for a drug afflicted individual in Vietnam, there is no way out.

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Recent Crackdowns Of Vietnamese Activists

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2011 by Ian Pham

The Vietnamese authorities have heated up their crackdowns in recent weeks.  With the arrests of many Vietnamese activists who have risen to defend victims of the Communist government, human rights activism is steadily becoming a  recurring force that the government has to deal with.  Among the persecuted are four land-rights activists, a lawyer, and a college professor (pictured right).

The land-rights activists have taken up some cases in defence of individuals who have been victimized by the land grabbing Communist Party.  One high profile case involved families living in south Mekong Delta whose homes are being confiscated, stolen, by the Vietnamese government.  The four activists involved in this case are pastor Duong Kim Khai, activists Cao Van Tinh, Tran Thi Thuy, and Doan Thai Duyen Hai.

Also, Vietnamese lawyer Huynh Van Dong has been suspended from practicing law for taking part in the defence of human rights activists.  The Vietnamese government has found him “guilty” of contempt for the court, “disrespecting the law,” and his attempts to “degrade the credibility and offend the Communist Party of Vietnam.”  Huynh Van Dong also represented democracy activists Pham Van Thong and Tran Thi Thuy in their preliminary trials.

Last week, college professor Pham Minh Hoang was charged with “subversion” and spreading “propaganda against the state,” both of which are common charges for dissidents and democracy activists.  Pham Minh Hoang is a French educated Vietnamese returning home to help develop the country through education and knowledge.  However, Pham Minh Hoang’s qualifications have somehow become a threat to the government, so the professor/blogger has been sentenced to three years in jail by the ruling Communist Party.

The crackdowns seem to be more frequent in Vietnam as of late.  Whether the democracy movement is gaining momentum or the Party has just spruced up their security forces is yet to be determined.  In any case, it is apparent that democracy is becoming more understood as a necessity in Vietnam.  There are many facing jail time for their dauntless activism of human rights and democracy, a movement that will only grow stronger with time.

Bloody Repression of the Hmong in Vietnam

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2011 by Ian Pham

A peaceful gathering turned violent last week when thousands of Hmong demonstrators clashed with government forces in Vietnam.  What started out as a religious assembly of Hmong Christians turned into a violent repression as their prayers were interrupted and crushed by the Vietnamese Communist Party.  The Communist government moved in their military and security forces into the province of Dien Bien to suppress the religious demonstration of the Hmong poeple, killing about 49, wounding several hundreds, and detaining countless more.

This is the latest example in how far the Communist Party will go to defend their own power.  They will not hesitate to murder their own population to maintain their stranglehold on governance.  For a Communist, terror and atrocity is not the last resort, but rather a conventional tactic.  In response to recent criticism, the Communist Party rationalizes their actions by saying that the Hmong protestors of using religion to undermine the state and “calling for a separate empire of the Hmong people,” which is not only absurd, but just stupid.

The United States government says that they will investigate the situation, which could mean many things.  At this moment, the U.S. is not very happy with the Vietnamese Communists, but still wants to have them as allies as counter-weight against China.  That is why they are keeping an uneasy silence against the recent crimes of the VCP.  The arrest of Cu Huy Ha Vu last month came at the chagrin of the Americans, now this recent attack on the Hmong protestors is further straining the relationship.  The Communists really need to recognize the value of the U.S. as a potential partner.  Supporting human rights and international law is a simple act that can have so many positive results.  They should think about that.

Political Cartoon: The Puppets of China

Posted in Art, Political Cartoons, Politics with tags , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by Ian Pham

The Hand:

Represents China holding on to the General Secretary, a symbol of how much control the Chinese have over the Vietnamese government.

The Protesters:

Their various signs say, “Protect Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Paracel and Spratly),” “Spratly and Paracel of Vietnam,” and “China is invading.”

The Puppet General Secretary:

“Quit protesting so loudly.  You are embarrassing us in front of the Chinese!  This is not the peoples’ affairs, this is the governments’ affairs!”