Date:                      August 16, 2021


CSW has joined 43 other organizations and individuals in urging the US Vice President to highlight the case of imprisoned human rights defender Nguyen Bac Truyen on her Vietnam visit. US Vice President Kamala Harris will start a two-day visit to Vietnam on Aug. 24.
In an open letter dated Aug. 12 and signed by a range of activists, religious leaders and human rights defenders and organizations from within Vietnam and around the world, the signatories encourage Vice President Harris to “highlight the case of Nguyen Bac Truyen and call for his release, and the release of all people imprisoned or detained for exercising their basic civil and political rights, at meetings with the Vietnamese leadership, in keeping with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to championing human rights in foreign policies.”
Nguyen Bac Truyen is a Hoa Hao Buddhist and legal expert who has provided pro bono legal assistance to families of political prisoners, victims of land grabs, and oppressed religious communities. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Last year Truyen was awarded the Stefanus Prize for his work promoting human rights in Vietnam, including freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).
The letter also raises concerns about several other prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, including Hoa Hao Buddhists Bùi Văn Trung and his son Bùi Văn Thâm, Phan Văn Thu, a leader of the banned An Dan Dai Dao Buddhist Sect, Montagnard Christian Pastor Y Yich, and Catholic activist Hoàng Đức Bình.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said, “CSW continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Nguyen Bac Truyen and other prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. We urge Vice President Harris to demonstrate the current US administration’s commitment to human rights by raising his case with the Vietnamese authorities, ensuring that economic and geopolitical interests are not prioritised over respect for human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief.”
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