Encouraging Human Rights, Development in Vietnam


“2013 represents an opportunity for the Government of Vietnam to choose to improve its human rights record and respect the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Daniel Baer during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Since normalization over 18 years ago, the ties between Vietnam and the United States have improved – through trade, travel and the cultural connections that have been reinforced,” he said.

Although Vietnam has become a more prosperous country, Vietnamese citizens still do not fully enjoy their universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.

While presenting testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on U.S. – Vietnam Bilateral Relations, Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer said that the United States is “very concerned about Vietnam’s Internet policies of blocking, hacking, surveillance and its detention of bloggers.”

“Development of a modern, successful and fair country requires the free flow of information. This creates a synergy of ideas and inspires innovation,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer said.

“Many of Vietnam’s more than 120 political prisoners are in jail for exercising their right to freedom of expression,” he said. “When the government arbitrarily dictates the line between what is a threat against the state and what is not – and when that line is ever shifting, then there is an inherent unfairness that undermines development.”

“Without progress on human rights, there are limits to the levels of development Vietnam can achieve,” said Mr. Baer.

The U.S. is committed to seeing human rights established in Vietnam because the Vietnamese people “deserve a system that provides rule of law, with equality for all before the law.”