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Bush Urged to Discuss Human Rights with Vietnamese P.M.

Calitoday.com, Posted: Jun 18, 2008

In advance of the expected visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the bipartisan House Vietnam Caucus, along with several Vietnamese community leaders, will hold a need to reform press conference to highlight the horrific human rights abuses in Vietnam. The members will also call upon President Bush to make human rights a focal point of the agenda in his meetings with the Prime Minister. Massive human rights violations perpetrated by the Government of Vietnam will not be forgotten, overlooked or trivialized. We will continue to highlight these abuseswhich are ongoing todayin an attempt to offer encouragement, solidarity and hope to the victims and pressure the government to reform, said Vietnam Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

The Vietnam Human Rights Act which will help to promote democracy, religious freedom and human rights reforms is supported by leading Vietnamese human rights groups and has already overwhelmingly passed the House. The Government of Vietnam can make the legislation unnecessary by simply providing fundamental human rights protections to its own citizens, said Rep. Smith, the author of the legislation. Specifically, Smiths bill (HR 3096), which passed the House last September would prohibit increased U.S. non-humanitarian assistance to the Government of Vietnam unless there is verifiable evidence that the Vietnamese Government has made substantial progress toward the release of its political and religious prisoners, respecting the right to freedom of religion, returning properties, allowing free and open access to refugee programs, respecting the human rights of members of all ethnic minority groups, and taking appropriate steps to end trafficking in persons.

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