September 7, 2011

Annex 3: Template of Letters to Donors and Implementers

[Date]

[Organization]

Facsimile:

Email:

Dear [Head of Organization],

I am writing to you in reference to research Human Rights Watch is conducting on human rights abuses in Vietnamese drug detention centers. These centers—sometimes referred to as “06 centers,” “Centers for Social Education and Labor” (Trung Tam Giao Duc Lao Dong Xa Hoi), “Centers for Post-Rehabilitation Management” ( Trung Tam Quan Ly Sau Cai Nghien) or “treatment and rehabilitation centers”—hold individuals suspected of drug dependency on a compulsory basis without due process protections or judicial oversight for periods of up to five years.

We are contacting you to provide information on the findings of our research and to ask you for information on your organization’s projects with or in such centers.

To provide you with an overview, our research to date has documented a number of serious concerns in Vietnamese drug detention centers, including:

  • People are detained in such centers without due process. Detainees have no practical opportunity to access a lawyer, a hearing, or to appeal the decision to detain them.
  • Work in such centers is not optional. According to the laws that govern the operation of Vietnam’s drug detention centers, detainees have a legal obligation to abide by the rules of the center, including work regimes. Center directors are authorized to punish detainees for refusing to work.
  • Labor in the centers is sometimes unpaid or paid at wages below the minimum wage. Centers also levy charges against detainee’s wages for items such as food, accommodation and “managerial fees.” These charges often represent a significant amount and, in some cases, all of detainee’s wages.
  • In many centers, beatings are commonplace. Physical abuse is meted out as punishment for infringements of center rules (including the obligation to work). On occasion, such ill treatment—involving severe beatings of detainees with truncheons or shocks from electric batons—constitutes torture.

With respect to dealings that your organization may have with any of these centers, we would be grateful for the following information:

  • A description of your organization’s current and past projects with or in Vietnam’s drug detention centers, including:
    • The total budget and donor for projects related to drug detention centers, by year;
    • The name and location of centers where project-funded activities have occurred, by year;
  • The specific type of activities conducted, by center and by year, including:
    • Any direct and indirect support to individuals held in drug detention centers, and the nature of that support;
    • Any direct and indirect support (including trainings, study tours, conference sponsorship, etc.) to staff in drug detention centers or government of Vietnam employees (including Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs staff and healthcare providers) who work in (including on an irregular or part-time basis), or are responsible for drug detention centers, and the nature of that support;
    • Any salary support to staff of drug detention centers, or government of Vietnam employees (including Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs staff and healthcare providers) who work in (including on an irregular or part-time basis), or are responsible for, drug detention centers, and the amount of that salary support;
    • Any support for the construction of new, or renovation of existing, physical infrastructure in drug detention centers (including healthcare clinics).
  • Whether your organization has any stated policy outlining the legal and/or ethical principles for its involvement in such centers (if so, please provide a copy of this policy);
  • Whether your organization is aware that under Vietnamese law, detainees with a serious illness are entitled to be released from the centers where those centers do not have the capacity to provide them with adequate care and treatment. If so:
    • To what extent are you aware of this decree being implemented in the centers where you operate programs?
    • Has your organization considered this legal provision as part of its policy on involvement in such centers (and if so, how);
    • Has your organization ever requested center management (or the authorities responsible for operating drug detention centers) to release any seriously ill detainees, and if so what has been the response?
  • The monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place for activities related to drug detention centers. Specifically:
    • The indicators to measure progress regarding project goals and activities;
    • Whether staff of your organization routinely or periodically visit drug detention centers in Vietnam;
    • Whether your organization has any stated policy or procedures for the handling of reports of suspected human rights violations witnessed or received by your staff or those implementing your projects (if so, please provide a copy of this policy).

[Following paragraph only where applicable]

  • [Your organization developed a training curriculum in drug counseling. Please:
    • Identify how many staff of drug detention centers, or government of Vietnam employees (including Ministry of Labor staff and healthcare providers) who work in (including on an irregular or part-time basis) drug detention centers, have been trained in this curriculum;
    • Identify any human rights principles, including due process rights, included in this training (if not included in the training manual, please provide a copy or outline of this training content);
    • Identify any discussion of forced labor or “labor therapy” included in this training (please provide a copy or outline of this training content).]

Please also describe:

  • Any reports of suspected human rights violations (such as torture and other forms of ill treatment, arbitrary detention, forced labor) or illegal acts against detainees in drug detention centers in Vietnam documented by your organization’s staff and the steps taken by your organization in response to such reports;
  • Please outline any other steps your organization has taken in response to concerns about suspected human rights violations (such as torture and other forms of ill treatment, arbitrary detention, forced labor) or illegal acts against detainees in drug detention centers in Vietnam.

We welcome your response and any other comments you may wish to bring to our attention regarding our findings, ideally within the next four weeks, by [date]. Any responses or comments you wish to make will be reflected in our reporting and we may publish these responses, and this request, in full.

Sincerely,

Joseph J. Amon, PhD, MSPH

Health and Human Rights Division

Human Rights Watch

Suggested template for information on projects implemented in or with Vietnam’s drug detention centers

Date

Funder and budget

Center(s)/location

Project activities

Reports of human rights abuses?

Organizational response

Additional comments