September 7, 2011

II. Findings

Detention without Due Process

I was caught by police in a roundup of drug users. They saw me with other users. They took me to the police station in the morning and by that evening I was in the drug center.… I saw no lawyer, no judge.
—Quy Hop, a man in his early thirties who spent four years in detention[60]

Detention by Police

None of the people whom Human Rights Watch interviewed saw a lawyer, judge, or court at any time before or during their detention in drug detention centers and—despite regulations providing for appeal of administrative decisions— were unaware of means to appeal the decision to detain them in a center.[61]

Most detainees enter centers on a compulsory basis. Cam Khe was a regular heroin user in his late 20s when he was taken into police custody in Ho Chi Minh City in 2007.

In less than two days [after being detained by the police] I was put into a center in another province.… I signed nothing. I did not go voluntarily. The police read the decision [to detain me] out loud to me. The decision said I was to be in a drug center for two years…. I saw no courtroom and I was told nothing about appeals.[62]

Lang Giang is a woman in her late 20s who was released from her second period of detention in mid-2010. After her first period of detention (for five years), she was released in 2006 and eventually returned home because she ran out of money.

I didn't know that there were already papers ready for me. A policeman and two members of the civil defense force (dan phong) detained me.[63] They took me to the local police station. My urine test was positive. I was given a paper which was a decision from the People's Committee with my name on it saying it had been decided that I would undergo compulsory detention in a drug center for 24 months. My parents and I signed some papers. I didn't want to go but had to follow the decision as it was compulsory.[64]

Among those who spoke with Human Rights Watch, not all were sent immediately to drug detention centers after being taken into police custody. Muong Nhe, in his late 30s, told Human Rights Watch that police picked him up in a round-up of drug users, gave him a drug test (which was positive), then released him.

I lived at home and continued to use for a month-and-a-half and then the police [came for me and] told me I was going to a center for 24 months. I didn’t sign anything and my family didn’t sign anything. I never got a document telling me about my detention or the terms of the decision.[65]

In many cases, individuals told Human Rights Watch that police pressured them and/or their families into signing a document prior to their detention. Many former detainees did not comprehend what the document said and feared what would happen if they or family members did not sign.[66]

Tra Linh was in her late 20s in 2006 when the police came for her while she was at home. She told Human Rights Watch that she suspected her neighbors reported her drug use to the police. She was taken to a police station and tested for drugs.

[The police] told me to sign a paper or I would be slapped. I was shocked and worried so I signed it. So did a family member. I was not given a copy so I don’t know if it said how long my term was. That very night I was put in the drug center on a compulsory basis.[67]

Tra Linh was detained for almost two years in total.

On occasion, police pressure families to convince their detained family member to sign. Ly Nhan was in his late 20s when he was detained by police. He told Human Rights Watch that he was held in the district police station for a week “while they got enough people to send to the center.” He explained:

[In the district police station] they gave me a paper telling me I would be detained for two years. They told me if I didn't sign it they would make trouble for me and they told my family to push me to sign. Finally I signed and my family signed.[68]

Ly Nhan was detained for five years in total.

Voluntary and Supposedly Voluntary Detention

It is unclear to what extent the general public is aware of what goes on inside the centers. A number of detainees told Human Rights Watch that they agreed to go to a center because they thought it would help them. However, detainees admitted to a center on a voluntary basis are unable to leave until authorities release them.

In 2006, Khoai Chau was in her late 20s when she agreed to her mother’s suggestion to go into a center to deal with her heroin addiction. She explained that prior to that decision, “I tried to quit many times on my own. There were no community services to use.”[69]

Xuan Truong is a man in his mid-30s who has used heroin since his early 20s. He told Human Rights Watch that his attempts to stop using on his own had not been successful and that he volunteered to enter a center because “I knew I needed to stop using… I recognized the cost of using heroin on my life and I decided to go.” He said:

I was treated the same as compulsory detainees. If I had been caught by the police it would be different, but they treated me like I was not human. So I tried to escape two times. For this I was punished.[70]

Voluntary admission need not mean that the person gave informed consent to enter a center. Rather, it can mean that a person’s family “volunteered” them to be admitted to a center. Tien Du, a man in his early 20s, was released in early 2010 after more than two years. He explained to Human Rights Watch that his family informed the local police that he was addicted to drugs because they “wanted me to have a good life.”

[The police] came to get me one morning when I was still in bed. My mother told me there was someone there to see me. The police arrested me and took me to the local police station where a urine drug test was positive. Two hours later they took me to the drug center. I didn’t want to go. I signed the paper that was prepared for me with the signatures of the head of the local administration, the police, the center I was sent to, and my mother. If I didn’t sign I would still have been detained.[71]

Extension of Detention

Human Rights Watch spoke with a number of people detained during the Ho Chi Minh City “post rehabilitation management” pilot project. Regardless of whether they were sent to centers on a voluntary or compulsory basis, former detainees said their periods of detention were extended without prior warning or opportunity for appeal.

Muong Nhe was in his early 30s when he was detained in Center No. 5 in Dak Nong province. Police told him when he was initially picked up in mid-2005 that he would be detained for two years. There was little explanation of his extension of detention.

When I had almost finished 24 months [in the center], the staff of the center told me I would have to stay another 24 months.[72]

Kinh Mon was in his early 30s when police detained him. He said he was told he would be detained for two years.

When I had served my two years they told me that a new decision had been made that made five years compulsory. That’s all I was told. I got no other papers, there was no hearing, no judge, no way to appeal.[73]

The decision to extend sentences also affected people admitted to the centers on a voluntary basis. Cho Don was in her mid-20s when she volunteered to go to a center because she thought “it was only a matter of time before I would be caught and sent for mandatory time in a drug center.” The admission letter she received stated she would be in the center for two years.

Then the rules for detention of drug users changed. Longer mandatory detention was to be used. My mother heard about it in the news before I was told. They transferred me to Phu Van [center] and then told me and my family that I must stay there longer. I wanted to escape but my mother persuaded me not to do so.[74]

An Thi was in her mid-20s when her family convinced her to go to a center. She said:

The local police told me that I should sign a paper for two years and if I was good I could come home in a year. Near the end of [the second year] I was told that my total stay would be four years. Then when I had been there four years they told me my release paperwork wasn't done yet and I stayed another year.[75]

Many detainees met the news that their time in detention would be extended by a number of years with despair and dismay.

Cho Don explained that some women tried to commit suicide—one successfully—when they heard of the decision to extend their detention at Phu Van Center.[76] Truc Ninh told Human Rights Watch that at Duc Hanh Center the decision was met with hunger strikes and escape attempts.[77]

Quynh Luu decided to escape from Center No. 3 in Binh Duong when he heard that his detention was being extended by an additional three years.

When the decision was made to extend our terms there were a lot of us who wanted to escape. Over the space of a few days, several hundred of us did. I swam across a river and ran off into a rubber tree plantation. But I was caught.[78]
After being returned to the same center, he was punished for escaping. He said he was beaten, shocked with an electric baton, and locked in a punishment room for a month. He was eventually released in 2008 after being detained for over five years.

Legal Principles

Arbitrary Detention

Ho Chi Minh City’s drug detention centers operate as part of the Vietnamese administrative—rather than the criminal justice—system.

According to Vietnamese law, court orders are not required to round up people who use drugs and detain them at the centers, and normal legal safeguards relating to imprisonment do not apply. However, under Vietnam's international legal obligations, the classification of drug detention centers as administrative centers rather than prisons does not alter the rights of the people dependent on drugs to liberty and security and the right not to be deprived of their liberty without due process.

The formal process for detention is perfunctory. In principle, the chairman of the commune-level or ward-level People’s Committee prepares a person’s file. Local police conduct the actual investigation for this file, which is then transferred to an advisory council (established by the chairman of the district-level People’s Committee) who then makes a recommendation to the chairman of the district-level People’s Committee as to whether to send the person to a drug detention center.[79] If the chairman of the district-level People’s Committee so orders, police transfer the person to a drug detention center.[80]

Police may be involved at all stages of the procedure: in taking a person into custody, investigating and providing information in the person’s file, sitting in on advisory council meetings that recommend the detention order, and transferring the person to the center.[81]

The formal process for detention for “post rehabilitation management” is equally cursory. The center’s director establishes a file on the detainee determining if the person is at a “high risk of relapse.” The file is then transferred to the chairman of the district-level People’s Committee. If he or she so orders, the person is transferred to “post rehabilitation management.”[82] The regulations provide for situations where the rehabilitation center and post rehabilitation center are the same center.[83]

None of the people whom Human Rights Watch interviewed were aware of provisions in administrative detention regulations providing for detainees to be able to lodge complaints or appeals regarding detention decisions. None attempted to appeal their detention.[84]

Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a party provides that, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention [or] be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law.”[85] Detention is considered “arbitrary” if it is not in accordance with law, or when it is random, capricious, or not accompanied by fair procedures for legal review.[86] International law grants a detainee the right to challenge the lawfulness of his or her detention by petitioning an appropriate judicial authority to review whether the grounds for detention are lawful, reasonable, and necessary.[87]

Forced Labor

If you refused to work you were sent to the punishment room and after a month you agreed to work again.
—Vu Ban, detained at Center No. 2 for five years[88]

Beatings and Other Punishments for Refusing to Work

Work in the centers is not optional and center directors are authorized to punish detainees for refusing to obey center regulations, including the obligation to work.[89] According to government decrees, such punishments may take the form of reprimands, warnings, or “education in a disciplinary room.”[90]

In practice, those who refuse to work are beaten and/or held in disciplinary rooms (a punishment discussed below). When asked if any detainees in the centers refuse to work, some former detainees simply responded: “Everyone worked and no one refused.”[91] However, another detainee, echoed by others, told Human Rights Watch:

Those who refused to work were beaten by the guards and then put into the disciplinary room. In the end they agreed to work.[92]

Dinh Lap is a man in his early 40s who spent four years at Center No. 5 in Dak Nong province before being released in 2009. He said he witnessed beatings of fellow detainees who refused to work while detained. He explained:

If you refused to work you were beaten by the staff or by the team leader chosen by the staff, or both. They beat us with anything nearby. I saw people beaten with hoe handles.[93]

Thach An is a man in his mid-20s who was released in late 2009 after spending more than two years in detention, mostly in Phu Duc Center. He told Human Rights Watch what he witnessed when one man at that center refused to work:

[The man] was beaten with a truncheon and then spent a week in solitary confinement before he agreed to work again.[94]

Ly Nhan was in his late 20s when he was detained in the Nhi Xuan Center: he was held there for over four years. He told Human Rights Watch:

People did refuse to work but they were sent to the disciplinary room. There they worked longer hours with more strenuous work and if they balked at that work then they were beaten. No one refused to work completely.[95]

In the centers it is also common practice that some detainees are designated as “guards” who play a central role in the day-to-day control of other detainees, including overseeing work. It is these detainee guards, as much as center staff, who force detainees to work.

Que Phong, whose story appears in the Summary section of this report, was a detainee guard in a center in Binh Phuoc province. He explained that detainee guards’ main function is to “observe work and monitor security.” The authority delegated to detainee guards includes the power to beat detainees for refusing to work.

Que Phong explained that a detainee who refused to work would be slapped by detainee guards, then handed over to staff for further punishment. If the detainee continued to refuse to work, he or she would be sent to a disciplinary room.[96]

Cam Khe, who was released in 2009 after 2 years in detention, explained how staff use detainee guards to force detainees to work, in his case in a center in Ninh Thuan province.

[Detention center] staff chose a detainee to be chief of the room. He was in charge of the workers, handed out tasks, and kept watch for security issues. If you worked too slowly he brought it up in the daily group meeting and then slapped you in front of the others. He then gave you the hard work of taking the entire team's agricultural tools to [the] field for everyone. If you refused to work, the chief of the room would beat you and might call in the staff to beat you with their truncheons and kick you. If the staff saw that you were opposing the room chief then they will come to help him in the beating. Then you had to go back to work.[97]

Detainee guards also serve as workplace overseers. Former detainees reported that detainee guards beat people to enforce conditions of work; for example, being late for work or working slowly.[98]

Types of Labor

[The] therapeutic working [i.e. labor therapy] approach was used in the centers…. The center staff said the therapy, on the one hand, helped recover the working functions for the residents and on the other hand helped them understand the values of working while preventing problems related to laziness or idleness.
—A 2009 Ministry of Labor assessment[99]

In the course of researching this report, former detainees and others told Human Rights Watch about different types of work and various products that they were required to manufacture or process. Detainees mentioned a number of companies that may be benefiting from forced labor in the centers. Human Rights Watch wrote to those companies we were able to identify setting out the allegations and requesting further information about potential commercial relations that they had with the centers.

The extensive testimony from detainees regarding the use of forced labor in the centers suggests that many companies may be directly or indirectly sourcing products or manufacturing services from drug detention centers. Although there are many different products on which detainees are forced to work this report includes only the names of those companies where Human Rights Watch was able to reach a reliable conclusion that products sold, processed, or handled by the company were likely produced in the centers.

In a few cases, multinational companies contacted by Human Rights Watch denied that their products were being manufactured in the centers, or suggested the possibility of counterfeit goods being produced. In one case, in response to our inquiry, the company strengthened their existing monitoring mechanisms to ensure that their supply chain is free of any connections with the centers.

As contracts with centers vary center-by-center, and over time, Human Rights Watch believes that the companies named in this report represent a small fraction of the overall commercial interests in the centers. Consequently, Human Right Watch’s investigation is ongoing. Human Rights Watch calls on the Ministry of Labor to publish a full list of companies that currently work and have previously worked with drug detention centers. Human Rights Watch believes that any company that may be sourcing from Vietnam in the industries named in this report should also urgently examine whether their supply chains might be tainted with products from drug detention centers and take adequate steps to remedy the problem if it is found.

Businesses’ International Human Rights Responsibilities

While governments have the primary responsibility for respecting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights they are not the only ones who bear rights responsibilities. There is a broad consensus that businesses of all types have a responsibility to respect human rights, including workers’ rights. This basic principle has achieved wide international recognition and is reflected in various norms and guidelines.[100]

The longstanding concept that businesses have human rights responsibilities secured additional support, including from the UN Human Rights Council and from business organizations, during the 2005-2011 tenure of Professor John Ruggie, the United Nations special representative on business and human rights.[101] As elaborated in the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework and the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” for their implementation, which the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed, businesses should respect all human rights, avoid complicity in abuses, and adequately remedy them if they occur.[102] Elsewhere, Ruggie has explicitly noted that “[t]he corporate responsibility to respect human rights … applies across an enterprise’s activities and through its relationships with other parties, such as business partners, entities in its value chain, other non-state actors and state agents.”[103]

The UN Framework and Guiding Principles outline basic steps that businesses should adopt consistent with their human rights responsibilities. This includes undertaking adequate due diligence that encompasses risk assessments and monitoring, in order to identify and prevent or effectively mitigate human rights problems.[104] Properly conducted due-diligence reviews have clear relevance to ensuring that a company is not implicated in forced labor and other abuses through its supplier relationships. As described by Ruggie, “not knowing about abuses [in the supply chain] is not a sufficient response by itself to allegations of either legal or non-legal complicity if the enterprise should reasonably have known about them through due diligence.”[105]

Cashew Processing

Vietnam is currently the world’s leading exporter of cashew nuts. In 2011, the country had 350,000 hectares of cashew plantations.[106] In 2010 Vietnam earned $ 1.14 billion from cashew nut exports, an amount that was expected to rise to $ 1.4 or $ 1.5 billion in 2011.[107] The main importers of Vietnamese cashews are the US, which purchases 35 percent of exported cashews, and the EU, which purchase 25 percent.[108] China, Japan and Australia are also important cashew importers.[109]

Between 1999 and 2005, the number of hectares dedicated to cashew trees nationwide grew rapidly, from 185,200 to 328,000.[110]

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch about their knowledge of cashew production in 11 of the 16 centers under the administration of Ho Chi Minh City authorities. According to reports from former detainees, cashew processing takes place in at least four centers located in Binh Phuoc: Binh Duc, Phu Van, Duc Hanh, and Phu Duc.[111] Cashew production work was also reported by former detainees of centers located in other provinces: in Center No. 1 (Dak Nong province), Center No. 2 (Lam Dong province), Center No. 3 (Binh Duong province), Center No. 5 (Dak Nong province), Phuoc Binh center (Dong Nai province), Nhi Xuan (Ho Chi Minh City), and Youth Center No. 2 (Ho Chi Minh City).[112]

Cashew processing consists of roasting the cashew nut (to make the shell brittle), shelling or husking the roasted nut to remove the kernel, then removing the kernel’s thin skin. Cashew kernels (whole or broken) are then graded. In addition to the cashew kernel, both the bell-shaped cashew “apple” and oil from the cashew shell have commercial value.[113]

From an economic perspective, the processing of cashews in drug detention centers has a number of advantages. Large-scale cashew operations often use machinery to husk the nuts and other mechanized equipment to remove the cashew nut shell liquid. Manual husking in smaller factories avoids the costs of specialized machinery and involves less kernel breakage than machine husking. It also minimizes the possibility of fragments of the cashew nut shell remaining after processing, thus increasing the product’s value. Hence small factories that perform manual husking have economic advantages over larger, highly mechanized factories.[114]

In addition, production costs are kept low by paying detainees wages well-below the minimum wage. The companies that utilize processing facilities in drug detention centers are also eligible for a complete exemption from paying business income tax.[115]

Manual husking of cashew nuts is monotonous and hazardous. It takes an average worker about 4,800 nuts to achieve five kilos of kernels. This requires one nut to be opened about every 6 seconds (at a rate of about 10 nuts per minute) for 8 hours.[116] Manual cashew processing can have negative health effects, including skin rashes, other allergic reactions, and respiratory problems.

Former detainees commonly told Human Rights Watch they worked between six and eight hours a day in cashew production. Some worked longer: for example, Trung Khanh told Human Rights Watch he had to work 10 hours a day skinning cashews in Center No. 2 (Lam Dong province) before he was allowed to rest.[117]

Tien Du, who spent six months skinning cashews in Center No. 5 (Dak Nong province), described skinning cashews as “hard work.”

We worked from morning to early afternoon skinning about six kilos each…. You sit on a stool at a table and use a knife to remove the silky skin and then sort them.[118]

Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that cashew resins from the nuts caused their skin to burn or itch and that that dust from the cashew skins made them cough.

Cua Lo spent two years in detention, the last 18 months of which was in Center No. 5. He worked eight hours a day husking cashews for a private company to meet the daily quota of seven or eight kilos of cashews, although he told Human Rights Watch it was customary for the slowest person in the work unit to be forced to skin an extra kilo. When reflecting on his period of detention, he stated adamantly “the work didn't help me recover” and stressed the harmful effects of the work on his health.

I would sometimes inhale the dust from the skins and that would make me cough. If the fluid from the hard outer husk got on your hands it made a burn.[119]

Vu Ban was in his late 20s when he was detained in Center No. 2 (Lam Dong province). He told Human Rights Watch:

My team was 30 to 40 who did cashews, forming part of the cashew work force of 400. I operated the machine that broke open the hard cashew shells. Others skinned them. I had a quota of 30 kilos a day and worked until they were done. If you refused to work you were sent to the punishment room and after a month [there] you agreed to work again.[120]

Kinh Mon was in his early 30s when he was detained. He was at the Phu Van center for all but the first month of his five years in detention, which he described as “a waste of time.” He said:

I did cashew husking for three years. I worked six and a half to eight hours a day to finish my quota. After I got used to the work it was easy to meet my quota of 20 to 30 kilos of unhusked cashews, but the fluid from the cashew shells burned my skin. They gave me one pair of rubber gloves a day but if I needed a new pair I had to pay for it.[121]

Like Kinh Mon, Lang Giang (who was also detained at Phu Van) said that the work was done for a private company. She continued:

We began work at seven in the morning and when each woman had done her portion of cashews she could stop work, usually after four and one-half to seven and one-half hours. We worked six days a week. If someone refused to work the group leader reported this to the center management. One woman refused to work. They discussed it with her. She still did not work. She was sent to the solitary confinement cell for a while. Then she agreed to work.[122]

Both Kinh Mon and Lang Giang said the cashew processing company they worked for in Phu Van center (Binh Phuoc province) was called Son Long.[123] A 2005 Vietnamese media article shows a photo of detainees processing cashews, with an explanation that the cashew workshop in the photo was in the Binh Duc center (in Binh Phuoc province) and belonged to Son Long J.S.C.[124] In January 2011, a journalist visiting another Binh Phuoc province center (Duc Hanh center) had a detailed discussion of cashew production with the center’s director who said “the company we work with is Son Long.”[125]

In April 2011, Son Long J.S.C. was listed as a “reliable exporter” on the Vietnam Ministry of Trade and Industry’s website, where the company was described as a Vietnamese agricultural trading company based in Binh Phuoc province.[126] Human Rights Watch wrote to Son Long J.S.C. in May and again in June 2011 seeking its reply to the information received about the company. Son Long J.S.C. had not provided a response by the time this report went to print.[127]

Farming

A number of former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they worked on coffee plantations.[128] For example, Kinh Mon was in his early 20s when he was first detained. He spent most of his five years in a center in Phu Van.

On arrival I did farm work for two years, cleaning the plots, softening the ground, harvesting the vegetables, and doing coffee plant work. The vegetables went to the center but I don't know where the other agricultural products went.[129]

Que Phong spent four years at Binh Duc center. Before he worked in cashew production, he “worked on the farm doing everything related to coffee.” A period in the punishment room for selling tobacco was combined with more strenuous labor related to coffee farming.

For a month they put me in the punishment room with five or six others. It was a small room with the toilet inside. We had no beds and showered only once a week. We ate only the center's food and got no visitors. We still worked, but were assigned the hardest jobs on the coffee farm.[130]

Many former detainees told Human Rights Watch they worked in other forms of agricultural production as well. For example, Huong Son was in his mid 30s when he was released from the Phuoc Binh center at the end of 2009. He told Human Rights Watch that, in addition to cashew production, “I worked in the potato fields where the potatoes were grown for monosodium glutamate production.”[131]

Quynh Luu described a range of work, including growing potatoes, at Center No. 3.

There were several kinds of work and I did them all. Clearing agricultural land and making roads was one. Raising and drying potatoes to make monosodium glutamate was another.[132]

Construction and Construction Materials

Some former detainees said their forced labor involved working in construction. Dinh Lap spent four years in Center No. 5 before being released in 2009. He explained:

I did three jobs in my four years there: grass cutting, building houses, and painting houses. The houses were near the camp but outside the perimeter. I don't know who got them. I worked eight hours a day six days a week.[133]

Some detainees told Human Rights Watch they worked making bricks or floor tiles. Trung Khanh said he worked at the Nhi Xuan center eight hours a day, six days a week making floor tiles.[134] Ly Nhan was also detained at the Nhi Xuan center. He said:

I made bricks for four years, working six hours a day, paid by the brick, with a team quota, and a team leader who was also a guard in charge of me.[135]

Garment and Bag Manufacturing

Many former detainees told Human Rights Watch that their labor involved sewing or embroidering clothes.[136] An Thi was in her 20s in late 2008 when she was released from Center No. 1, where she was detained for five years. She sewed for almost all that time.

The days were all the same. We awoke at six a.m. and exercised. If your family gave you money you had breakfast.[137] Work began at 7:30 a.m. and we knocked off for lunch and a nap at 11 a.m. We worked again from one to four p.m. for a total of a six-and-a-half hour workdays. We were 300 women [in the center] divided into eight rooms, each room having two or three staff guards. Then the staff chose detainee leaders to lead us in our work. I sewed for almost five years except right before I left, when I skinned cashews. I sewed uniforms for detainees in drug centers, as well as trousers and t-shirts.[138]

Truc Ninh was in her late 20s when she was detained. She was transferred between various centers before being held at Nhi Xuan center for 18 months prior to release. “At Nhi Xuan there were 1000 detainees and 300 of us were women,” she said. “I sewed t-shirts and nylon jackets for eight hours a day.”[139]

Hai Duong spent five years in detention, the last three-and-a-half years at Phu Van center. She did agricultural work at the beginning, and was later reassigned to embroidery work.

I did embroidery eight hours a day and was paid piecework. I was good at it. We embroidered the top of a Korean garment called a hanbok. They were many colors and patterns…. If you refused to work they sent you out to do more field work. Everyone worked.[140]

A number of former detainees told Human Rights Watch they were forced to make shopping bags.[141] Xuan Truong is a man in his mid-30s who was released in 2009 after being transferred to various centers, including Center No. 2 in Lam Dong province, where he spent over three years. In addition to working in cashew production, he told Human Rights Watch of being forced to glue paper shopping bags.

I also produced paper bags. The paper was printed and cut and we had assemble them and to glue them together. They were blue, grey, or white…. Our work group had a daily quota of 250 bags. If you didn’t do your part then the other detainees beat you.[142]

Manufacturing

Some former detainees told Human Rights Watch that detainees were involved in making other products, such as goods made from wood, bamboo and rattan, plastic goods such as straws, and making paper money (used as offerings for the dead).

Con Cuong was detained for four years in Center No. 4 in Binh Duong province. He did agricultural work, but explained various other types of work at the center.

There were other jobs at the center: making bamboo baskets, embroidery, woodworking, and making paper offerings that would be burned for the spirits of the dead.… If you refused to work you were sent to the punishment room for two months. You might be beaten with hands, kicked, and beaten with a truncheon. Then you would go back to work again.[143]

The production of rattan and bamboo products by detainees was reported in other centers.[144]

Luc Ngan was released in late 2009 after being detained for three-and-a-half years at Youth Center No. 2.

Work was compulsory. We produced bamboo furniture, bamboo products, and plastic drinking straws. We were paid by the hour for work: eight-hour days, six days a week.[145]

Luc Ngan believed that the drinking straws were sold to a company called Tran Boi.[146] Vietnamese media reports in 2003 and 2004 describe Tran Boi Co. as working in Youth Center No. 2 to provide detainees with jobs under the “post rehabilitation management” pilot program.[147] Business directories describe Tran Boi Production Co. Ltd.as a plastics company located in Ho Chi Minh City.[148] Human Rights Watch wrote to Tran Boi Production Co. Ltd.in May and again in June 2011 seeking its reply to the information received about the company. Tran Boi Production Co. Ltd.had not provided a response by the time this report went to print.[149]

Case Study: Vestergaard Frandsen

Vestergaard Frandsen SA is an international company headquartered in Switzerland that specializes in products designed for disease control and complex emergency responses, including insecticide treated mosquito nets.[150] The company has stated policies on respect for international labor standards and human rights principles.[151]

In late 2010, Human Rights Watch received information that mosquito bed nets bearing tags with the company name Vestergaard Frandsen SA were being produced in “Rehabilitation Center No. 2” in Haiphong city (northern Vietnam).[152]

In April 2011, Human Rights Watch wrote to the chief executive officer of Vestergaard Frandsen SA seeking information on the company’s manufacturing practices in Vietnam.[153]Vestergaard Frandsen SA responded to the letter immediately, sending senior staff members to Vietnam to investigate the claim and to New York to meet Human Rights Watch.

The same month, the company met with Human Rights Watch and reported on their investigation. In brief, the company stated that:

  • They contracted with one company in Vietnam who managed production using 71 approved sub-contractors. Four of these sub-contractors engaged companies to produce bed nets by detainees in drug detention centers without authorization.
  • Detainees in drug detention centers produced approximately 250,000 bed nets for Vestergaard Frandsen SA between April and November, 2010.[154]

Following its investigation, Vestergaard Frandsen SA terminated all relationships with the identified sub-contractors. The company also consulted with an international accounting firm to develop a new “responsible supply chain management system,” encompassing a supplier code of conduct, site visits (with a standardized check-list), and third-party auditing.[155]

The company reiterated in a communication with Human Rights Watch its commitment:

...to performing all of its duties in a highly ethical, transparent and responsible manner for the benefit of society. Disseminating our Business Conduct Principles into the supply chain is of the highest priority and will not only improve quality and mitigate business and reputational risk, but more importantly, will advance responsible business practices among suppliers… Vestergaard Frandsen therefore wants to work with suppliers based on the following principles that derive from internationally agreed conventions on human rights and labour rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO’s [International Labour Organization] Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.[156]

Human Rights Watch believes that Vestergaard Frandsen SA responded to the allegations brought to its attention with appropriate seriousness and speed, and welcomes the company’s commitment to prevent such incidents in the future. Nonetheless, Vestergaard Frandsen SA and other companies manufacturing in Vietnam should have effective systems in place to proactively detect and respond to abuse on their own, rather than responding to outside reports.

Moving forward, Vestergaard Frandsen SA and other businesses should be vigilant and transparent in monitoring for human rights abuses, reporting incidents, and taking specific action in response.

Deliberate Confusion with Vocational Training

The Vietnamese government deliberately uses the term vocational training as a euphemism to describe what is nothing less than forced labor in the centers. For example, a 2009 Ministry of Labor assessment states that over 90 percent of the nearly 1000 detainees that the review covers participated in “working treatment therapy” and that, according to regulations, detainees must spend 70 percent of their eight-hour day performing labor therapy. However, in an otherwise detailed report, the review is oddly silent on the forms of “working treatment therapy” that detainees performed.

Yet the review does refer to “one-month vocational training courses” that are performed “in order to exploit the available potentials of the center in order to make products which are helpful for daily life of the residents.” Listed as “vocational training courses” are “cashew nut peeling, production of votive objects, art objects, children’s toy painting, rock cutting, coal mining, farming, etc.” The review laments that the one-month period is insufficient time to provide sufficient experience and training for the detainees.[157]

This deception is also present in official Vietnamese media coverage of labor in the centers. To cite just one example from state-controlled media, one article explains that detainees in the Thai Binh center “are given the chance to learn the skill of cashew nuts processing.”[158]

Articles in state-controlled media published shortly after the passage of the decree regulating post rehabilitation management during the Ho Chi Minh City pilot project clearly stated that, under the decree, detainees who “refuse to voluntarily enroll in vocational training and job placement establishments” would be detained for “post-rehabilitation management” for an (additional) period of one to three years.[159]

Few former detainees whom Human Rights Watch spoke to mentioned vocational training in the centers. However, one former detainee identified what appear to be genuine vocational training programs at Youth Center No. 2. According to Luc Ngan, “work was compulsory [but]…. There was [also] vocational training in fixing motorbikes and computer work but it was voluntary and I didn’t participate.”[160]

For reasons outlined below, Human Rights Watch believes that the overwhelming preponderance of labor performed in Vietnam’s drug detention centers is not genuine vocational training.

Rather than any instructive benefit to individuals, most labor in Vietnam’s drug detention centers is motivated by a desire to correct perceived moral failings of detainees and to generate income for the centers. A number of additional indicators, taken together, show the labor performed inside the centers is distinct from real vocational training programs. These indicators include:

  • Prolonged periods of menial labor. Many former detainees told Human Rights Watch they had to perform the same form of basic manual labor for many months or years. Such periods of prolonged repetition of the same basic labor go far beyond any period of genuine skill acquisition.
  • Disregard for the needs and interests of the individual. There is no consideration of an individual’s personal aspirations in the labor in the centers. Rather, labor in the centers takes place on a compulsory basis and en masse.[161]
  • Detainee enforcement of production quotas. Detainee guards often oversee work. Their role is to enforce discipline and production quotas, rather than providing training in work skills.
  • Labor law is the applicable law. Both decrees governing drug detention centers establish that the work carried out in the centers is supposedly governed by Vietnam’s Labor Code.[162]

Legal Principles

Forced labor is prohibited under international law.[163] According to the ILO Convention on Forced Labor (No. 29), forced or compulsory labor “shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.”[164]The ban on forced labor in international law extends to the practice of labor therapy in Vietnamese drug detention centers.

In principle, a scheme of education or training does not fall within the meaning of the prohibition on compulsory “work or service” prohibited by Convention No. 29.[165] However, as the ILO’s Committee of Experts has observed:

[It is] only by reference to the various elements involved in the general context of a particular scheme of training that it becomes possible to determine whether such scheme is unequivocally one of vocational training or on the contrary involves the exaction of work or service within the definition of “forced or compulsory labor.”[166]

The ban on forced labor in international law does not cover “[a]ny work or service exacted from any person as a consequence of a conviction in a court of law” if certain preconditions are met. However, people held in drug detention centers under Ho Chi Minh City administration have not been detained due to a conviction in a court of law.

In some of the cases documented in this report, detainees initially entered the centers on a voluntary basis. This has no bearing on the nature of these situations as forced labor since they are not free to leave the centers once they have entered.[167]

Forced labor is also prohibited under Vietnam’s labor law.[168]

Prohibitions on Forced Labor by Vietnam’s Trade Partners

In addition to international prohibitions on forced labor, many of Vietnam’s key trade partners prohibit the import of goods and products produced by forced labor programs.

The US Tariff Act of 1930, as amended in 2006, specifically prohibits import of goods and merchandise “produced or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or forced labor.” The amended Tariff Act also prohibits the import of goods “made in factories or workshops that violate core labor standards.”[169]

The US Department of Labor (DOL) is authorized to develop and publish a list of goods from around the world that are produced by forced or child labor.[170]

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a US trade program that grants preferential, duty-free treatment to the products of certain designated “developing countries.” In 2008, Vietnam petitioned the US to consider Vietnam a “developing country” under the GSP program.[171] The US has not yet granted the trade benefits to Vietnam. In its request for GSP designation, the Vietnamese government focused on its partnership with the International Labour Organization and its ratification of several of the ILO’s conventions as demonstrating its commitment to comply with international labor rights standards.

The European Community and Vietnam signed a framework cooperation agreement in 1995 that explicitly includes preferential trade measures.[172] Respect for human rights constitutes as an essential element of that agreement.[173] The European Commission and Vietnam signed a new Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation in October 2010 which, when it becomes operational, will supersede the 1995 agreement.[174]

The EU grants Vietnam preferential trade benefits under its own system of Generalized System of Preferences. The European Council Regulation governing this system allows for “the suspension of preferential arrangements, regarding all or certain products originating in a beneficiary country, where it considers that there is sufficient evidence that temporary withdrawal would be justified,” including where there are “serious and systematic violations of principles” laid down in certain international human rights and labor rights conventions, on the basis of the conclusions of the relevant monitoring bodies.[175]

Where the European Commission receives information that may justify temporary withdrawal of GSP status, it shall request consultations, which must take place within one month. Following the consultations, the commission may decide to initiate an investigation that should be completed within one year. In the light of its findings, the commission may take appropriate action either to confirm the continuation of GSP benefits or to propose to EU member states in the council that they be temporarily withdrawn.[176]

Labor Rights and Conditions of Detention

Some former detainees told Human Rights Watch that forced labor in the centers was unpaid. More commonly, wages were paid at rates well below the minimum wage. Former detainees said the centers also levy charges on their wages for food, accommodation, and “managerial fees.” These charges often constitute a significant amount—in some cases all—of their derisory wages.

Unpaid Labor

Dinh Lap was detained for four years in Center No. 5 (in Dak Nong province), where he cut grass, worked in construction, and painted houses outside the center. He said he “worked eight hours a day, six days a week” and “never received any wages” during his detention.[177]

Cam Khe was in his mid-20s when he was sent to a center in Ninh Thuan province. He was forced to work in agricultural fields for almost two years.

We raised sugar cane, corn, and rice. We worked eight or nine hours a day, longer during harvest hours. We weren't paid at all.[178]

Tan Uyen was in his early 20s when he was detained in the Youth Center No. 2 in Ho Chi Minh City for over four years.

I worked in the vegetable gardens about six hours a day, six days a week. No one refused to work. Our group did well and our vegetables were eaten by the detainees in the center. I got no wages—no cash and no money on my account.[179]

Payment below the Minimum Wage

Many interviewees told Human Rights Watch that their wages—before center-imposed deductions—were well below the minimum wage.

The minimum wage in Vietnam was adjusted five times between 2006 and the end of 2010. It is also divided into three (or in some years, four) different rates for different geographic areas of the country, reflecting different levels of economic development nationwide.

Although not all centers are in rural areas, as a comparison, the minimum monthly wages for the least developed areas of Vietnam are as follows:

2006: VND350,000 ($17)

2007: VND450,000 ($21.50)

2008: VND540,000 ($26)

2009: VND650,000 ($31)

2010: VND730,000 ($35)[180]

A wage sheet from one center under Ho Chi Minh City administration that Human Rights Watch obtained shows the monthly wages of over 50 detainees performing cashew processing in September 2010 (Annex 4). After deductions, detainees received between 16,000 and 149,000 VND ($0.75 to $ 7.50) per month.

Former detainees interviewed in the course of research reported being paid wages that, even prior to any deductions, were below the minimum wage.

For example, these were for:

  • Garment manufacturing work (six-and-a-half hours a day) performed from 2006 to 2008 in Center No. 1: An Thi told Human Rights Watch that her monthly wage was VND170,000 ($8).[181]
  • Garment manufacturing work (up to 10-and-a-half hours a day) from 2006 to 2008 in the Phu Van center: Cho Don was paid around VND160,000 ($7.50) a month.[182]
  • Garment manufacturing work (eight hours a day) in 2007 and 2008 in the Nhi Xuan center: Truc Ninh explained she was paid VND400,000 ($19) a month.[183]
  • Making bricks (six hours a day) from 2006 until 2008 in the Nhi Xuan center: Ly Nhan told Human Rights Watch he was paid a salary of VND300,000 ($14.50).[184]
  • Processing cashews (six or seven hours a day) from 2006 until 2008 in Center No. 5: Dong Van was paid VND100,000 ($5) a month.[185]
  • Cashew processing (six to seven hours a day) from mid-2006 to mid-2008 in Binh Duc center: Que Phong was paid around VND200,000 ($9.50) a month.[186]
  • Agricultural work, cashew processing, and making bamboo products (eight hours a day) from 2006 until 2008 in Center No. 3: Quynh Luu earned VND120,000 ($5.50) a month.[187]
  • Agricultural work and cashew processing (eight hours a day, sometimes more) from 2006 until the end of 2009 at the Phuoc Binh center: Huong Son was paid between VND200,000 and 300,000 ($9.50 to$14.50) a month.[188]

All figures are for wages before center-imposed deductions. The US dollar equivalents are approximate, based on an exchange rate of US$1: VND 19,500.

Center-Imposed Deductions from Wages

On paper I earned [VND] 120,000 a month but they took it. The center staff said it paid for our food and clothes.
—Quynh Luu, who spent over five years at Center No. 3, Binh Duong province[189]

Ly Nhan was detained for four years in Nhi Xuan center. He explained the types of deductions that the center levied:

I earned a wage of VND300,000 ($14.50) a month [making bricks] but the net amount was VND100,000 to 120,000 ($5.50) after center staff deducted money for accommodation, water, electricity and a management fee.[190]

Truc Ninh told Human Rights Watch that during her year-and-a-half at the Nhi Xuan center:

I made VND400,000 ($19) a month but they took money for food and housing so I really only got VND200,000 to 300,000 ($9.50 to $14.50).[191]

Some detainees—such as Huong Son who was detained for four years at the Phuoc Binh center and released in late 2009—told Human Rights Watch that center-levied charges subsumed all their nominal payment for work. Huong Son said:

I earned money, about VND200,000 to 300,000 ($ 9.50 to $ 14.50) a month, but all of it was taken by the center to pay for my food…. I left the center with no money.[192]

Many former detainees explained that the food the centers provided was insufficient.[193] Consequently, detainees are forced to purchase food from the centers using the credit left on their accounts or money that family members deposit. The amount spent by detainees on food rations and personal hygiene items can be considerable. Vu Ban was released in 2008 after spending five years in Center No. 2 in Lam Dong province.

The money I made working I used for soap and extra food and personal items, but it was not enough. When I left I owed the center VND700,000 ($ 33.50).[194]

Dinh Lap was detained for five years in Center No. 5 (Dak Nong province). When it was time for his release, his family had to pay for his expenses.

My family gave me VND800,000 ($ 38.50) a month. I spent the money my family gave me on food like fish, meat, and vegetables that I cooked with my mates. When I left, my family gave the center VND1.2 million ($ 57.50) for unpaid expenses.[195]

Legal Principles

Under Vietnamese labor law, employers are required to pay each worker wages that cannot be lower than the applicable minimum wage.[196] Deductions from wages are also regulated: for example, employees have the right to be aware of reasons for deductions, which require trade union discussions and are limited to 30 percent of the monthly wage.[197]

Ill-Treatment of Detainees

Torture and other Forms of Physical Abuse

A poster displays the rules for detainees at the Duc Hanh center, Binh Phuoc province. © Private 2011

HCM City DOLISA

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Independency-Freedom-Happiness

Duc Hanh Medical Treatment Cente

Binh Phuoc, December 01, 2009

BYLAWS

(Applied to the center’s trainees)

Based on the Decision No. 114/2001/QD-UB dated 26 November 2001, issued by the Municipal People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City permitting the establishment of Duc Hanh Medical Treatment Center under HCMC’s DOLISA.

In order to ensure safety, security and order at Duc Hanh Medical Treatment Center, the Board of Directors regulates as follows:

  • Article 1: Trainees shall absolutely comply with every regulation of the Board of Directors and every directive of the immediate staff-in-charge.
  • Article 2: [Detainees must] absolutely comply with the timetable assigned for labor, studying and personal activities. Every activity of trainees must be reported and subject to the approval of the immediate staff-in-charge.
  • Article 3: [Detainees are ordered] to enthusiastically labor, study and improve one’s dignity and personality, to elevate one’s organizational awareness to participate in every treatment and therapy program throughout the period of undergoing rehab treatment at the Medical Treatment Center.
  • Article 4: [Detainees are ordered] to protect Socialist property, not to vandalize public and private properties, not to steal properties for private use, not to take advantage and beg for favors, not to organize violent gangs to bully, and not to escape the center or organize escapes.
  • Article 5: [Detainees are ordered] to practice a civilized lifestyle and a healthy culture. No swearing, lying, no shaving the head, no trouble-causing [behavior] to jeopardize solidarity. [Detainees are ordered] to maintain personal and public hygiene and keep their belongings in good order.
  • Article 6: The infiltration, possession, circulation and use of depraved cultural products [i.e. publications], sharp objects, bank notes, precious metal and gemstones, drugs, alcoholic drinks and other stimulating substances is strictly prohibited; no trading of personal belongings in any form.
  • Article 7: All acts of abuse and corporal punishment are absolutely prohibited. [Detainees must] not create a tattoo on anyone nor let anyone give them a tattoo. Homosexual abuse is prohibited.
  • Article 8: Trainees exiting the center’s gate must dress decently in uniform with hair well-groomed. When receiving visitors, trainees must maintain a polite and courteous attitude, not harassing nor making demands of their family.
  • Article 9: All trainees currently undergoing rehab treatment at the center must comply absolutely with the above regulations. Violations will be strictly dealt with.

Director

(signed)

Dang Thanh Van

Former detainees described severe beatings and other forms of physical violence as “normal life” in Ho Chi Minh City’s drug detention centers. Dong Van was detained for over four years in Center No. 5.

If we opposed the staff they beat us with a one-meter, six-sided wooden truncheon. Detainees had the bones in their arms and legs broken. This was normal life inside.[198]

Former detainees reported being beaten to “welcome” them to the center.[199] Trung Khanh spent three years in Center No. 2 in Lam Dong province. He reported:

When I first arrived I was beaten for no reason at all. The staff made me lie down on my stomach and they beat my buttocks with a truncheon. I was also struck with their hands and kicked.[200]

Centers commonly issue a detailed list of internal rules (such as those detailed above). Although physical beatings are not sanctioned punishments, infringements of center rules commonly result in staff beating detainees with truncheons. Truc Ninh, in her late 20s when she was detained, told Human Rights Watch of being beaten for gambling.

The supervisor took me to the management room and said that I couldn’t play cards and gamble alone so I should tell him who I played with. I didn’t tell him. He put me face down on a bed and beat my buttocks twice with a truncheon. I cried out. He said that was a warning.[201]

Cua Lo, who was released in early 2010, was beaten by staff at Center No. 5 while being interrogated about selling tobacco.

I was hit on the buttocks and the legs while lying face down on a table. I was also kicked and slapped.[202]

Some infractions of center rules are punished with forms of physical abuse that constitute torture. Tien Du said he was tortured to reveal how he smuggled tobacco into a center.

Once when I worked outside the center I got some tobacco and I brought it into the center. I was caught. They questioned me about my supply and who gave it to me. I was beaten by staff with a wooden truncheon, struck by hand, and kicked when I was being questioned. This went on for hours. At the beginning I told them that I didn’t keep any tobacco but in the end I had to say I did. Then I had to stay in the punishment room for a month.[203]

Human Rights Watch received reports of electric batons being used on detainees as punishment. Con Cuong, who was in his mid-20s when he was detained in Center No. 4, said he was tortured as punishment for using drugs in detention and to force him to divulge information about where he got them. He said:

In the camp I injected drugs. When I tested positive for drugs I was taken for questioning to determine where I got the drugs. The staff beat me with truncheons on my legs and used an electric baton to shock me on my back. This lasted over half a day. Then they put me in the punishment room with over twenty others, including those who had refused to work.[204]

Former detainees also told Human Rights Watch they were tortured after failed escape attempts. Quynh Luu, who tried to escape by swimming across a river, described what happened when he was caught:

First they beat my legs so that I couldn't run off again. Then they took me back to the center and put me into the punishment room. They shocked me with an electric baton. They kept me in the punishment room for a month.[205]

Huong Son, in his late 30s, was released in late 2009 after four years in detention. He told Human Rights Watch of a similar experience after trying to escape. He turned himself in to police and was returned to the same center, where he was punished.

On my return [to the center] I was kicked in the flanks and got an electric baton applied to my neck by the staff. I fainted.[206]

Severe violence against those who attempt escape appears intended to serve both as a punishment and an example to other detainees. Cam Khe was in his mid-20s when he was detained in a center in Ninh Thuan province. He told Human Rights Watch:

Punishment for escaping was the worst. I saw a beating that frightened me. The staff beat the escapee with their fists, kicked him and tied him to the flagpole in the sun.[207]

Much physical abuse inside the centers involves detainees beating other detainees. Rather than being spontaneous acts of fighting between detainees, detainee-on-detainee violence is often an extension of staff control of detainees. Detainee guards are frequently involved in meting out punishments for infringing center rules. Huong Son described the use of detainee guards to enforce discipline in the Phuoc Binh center:

We had detainee guards. They were chosen by the staff. They were meant to observe us, prevent fights, lead us to work, and show us what to do. They beat other detainees for smoking and fighting. They had permission to strike us with their hands and with steel or plastic truncheons. This happened both in private and in public. I think I saw 20 or 30 beatings. [208]

Disciplinary Rooms (Phong Ky Luat)

The decrees that govern drug detention centers provide that infringement of center rules— including refusal to work—can be punished by “education in a disciplinary room.”[209] Time spent in such a room is supposedly limited to seven days.[210] In reality, it is often longer—and the experience more brutal—than regulations allow.

Former detainees reported two basic types of disciplinary rooms. One is a group punishment room where detainees are locked in with other detainees. The room is usually the same size as regular sleeping rooms in the center, although it is often overcrowded. Some former detainees describe how gangs of other detainees rule these punishment rooms.

The other extreme is solitary confinement cells—usually small, cramped cells where a detainee is held in isolation, sometimes in shackles.[211] Some centers have both group punishment rooms and solitary confinement cells.

In such rooms, physical deprivation is used as additional punishment. Former detainees reported that rations of food and/or drinking water were reduced, access to bathing was restricted, and family visits were prohibited. Many such rooms have no beds or mats, forcing detainees to sleep on the floor. Often, detainees are only allowed out of the room for short periods each day, if at all. It is not uncommon for a detainee to spend weeks or even months in such a room, contravening the decrees governing drug detention centers.[212]

While in such rooms, detainees either have to work longer hours or at more strenuous work than usual, or are prohibited from working at all (thus spending even longer locked in the disciplinary room).

Ly Nhan described being locked in a punishment room for three months while detained at the Nhi Xuan center.

It was a 10 by 15 meter room. There were usually about 20 people, being held there for one to six month terms. Rice was restricted. We worked longer hours with more strenuous work, had little water and wore the clothes of those who lived there before us. There were no visitors allowed and the room was locked most of the time. I spent three months there: it was very hard.[213]

Vu Ban was detained in Center No. 2.

There were 10 to 40 people in this [punishment] room at one time. They got no visitors or extra money from visitors. They slept on mats on the floor instead of in beds and they had no mosquito nets or blankets. They were locked in except when working. They worked longer hours with no lunch break.[214]

Some former detainees told Human Rights Watch that the people locked in the punishment room in the center where they were held were not allowed to work and spent all but 30 minutes of each day locked up. Quynh Luu explained that he was beaten and shocked with an electrical baton after attempting to escape from Center No. 3. For this he was locked in a punishment room for one month.

There were 20 of us in a four meter by four meter room. We all slept on the floor. Except for a half an hour in the morning, when they let you out to go to the toilet, we were locked in all day long.[215]

Placement in a solitary confinement cell is often considered an even more severe form of punishment. Cho Don, in her late 20s when detained, described the solitary confinement cell in Phu Van center.

No cash was allowed in the center…. My friend used cash in the center so she was sent [to the solitary confinement cell]. It was about two meters by two meters with a small seat and small window. A toilet hole led outside. You could be held alone there for one to four months.[216]

Lang Giang, also in her late 20s when detained, described the solitary confinement cell in the same center.

Big infractions [of center rules] were punished by sending a woman to the solitary confinement cell. This was a two meter by two meter room where she was ankle shackled. One woman spent three months there for picking a fight with another detainee over the choice of group leader.[217]

Few of the former detainees whom Human Rights Watch talked to had been held in a solitary confinement cell. One who had is Tra Linh; she was locked in a solitary confinement cell in Trong Diem center (now inactive as a drug detention center) for one month after trying to escape.

When I was caught I was beaten with a truncheon and then locked alone in the solitary confinement cell for one month. It was bad. There was no water in the toilet or for showering or feminine hygiene. I was given only rice and soy sauce for food, no meat or fish. I saw only the guards and the detainee who delivered my food tray. At night I had no blanket and I was cold and hungry and afraid of ghosts.[218]

Legal Standards

International law prohibits all forms of ill-treatment described in this report. According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person” and “[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”[219]

The UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that “[c]orporal punishment ... and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences.”[220] It also states that “[n]o prisoner shall be employed in any disciplinary capacity.”[221]

Some of the ill-treatment unquestionably constitutes torture. For example, the special rapporteur on torture has considered administration of electric shocks and beatings (including blows with a bludgeon) a form of torture.[222]

The conditions of small group confinement and solitary confinement in Ho Chi Minh City’s drug detention centers—with overcrowded rooms/prolonged periods of solitary confinement, restricted food and/or water, restricted access to bathing and prohibited family visits—all deny detainees the ability to carry out a minimum range of activities that are fundamental parts of human life.

The practice of locking detainees in punishment rooms or solitary confinement cells without releasing them, or releasing them for only 30 minutes a day, does not comport with the minimum outdoor time stipulated by the Standard Minimum Rules.[223]

Particularly harsh conditions of detention, including deprivation of food, constitute inhuman conditions of detention in violation of the ICCPR.[224] The UN Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners provides: “Every prisoner shall be provided by the administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served.”[225]

According to the regulations that govern Vietnam’s drug detention centers, “any act infringing upon the body, health, honor and dignity of any individual who has been taken into the rehabilitation center” is strictly prohibited.[226]

Abuses against Children

The Vietnamese government reported that in 2007, 3.5 percent of detainees in Ho Chi Minh City centers were children.[227] Like adults, children can be detained for between one to two years.[228] Decree 135 of 2004 requires that detained children must take part in “therapeutic labor.”[229] There is nothing in the decree on “post rehabilitation management” to prevent a child from being categorized as at “a high risk of relapse” and subject to the additional two years of detention.[230]

Forced Labor

Huu Lung was a child—i.e. under 18 years old—when detained at a center in Long An province for 2 years.

There were less than a thousand of us there, a number of women, and we were all drug users. The age range was from 14 to 56-years-old. We slept together, ate together, and worked together. My job was agricultural. I did vegetable farming and watering eight hours a day. Everyone worked. No one refused.[231]

Dinh Lap, a man in his forties, told Human Rights Watch that children were forced to work alongside him at Center No. 5 in Dak Nong province. Like others, they were forced to work by beatings.

There were some boys 16 and 17. I think there were younger ones too but I'm not sure. They were treated exactly the same as adults. We lived the same, ate the same, and worked the same. If you refused to work you were beaten by the staff or by the team leader chosen by the staff or both. Sixteen and seventeen year olds were beaten the same as adults.[232]

Youth Center No. 2 is nominally a center for youth, where it appears school classes and some voluntary vocational training are offered. Some former detainees told Human Rights Watch that children detained at the facility were allowed to choose between work and educational study.[233]

However other former detainees said that work was compulsory and additional to educational study. Luc Ngan was a child when detained at Youth Center No. 2, where he spent almost four years.

There were about eight or nine hundred of us there, all drug users, and the ages were from 12 years to 26 years…. School with the national curriculum was mandatory. There was vocational training in fixing motorbikes and computer work but it was voluntary and I didn’t participate. Work was compulsory. We produced bamboo furniture, bamboo products, and plastic drinking straws. We were paid by the hour for work: eight-hour days, six days a week.[234]

Thai Hoa was an adult when detained at Youth Center No. 2. He spent five years in the center, where he said ages ranged from 12 to 24 years and he had a daily quota of three-and-a-half kilos of cashews to skin each day.

If someone refused to work on the job the other detainees hit them as they entire group needed to stay until everyone's individual quota was met. No one refused to work by not going to the workplace. Everyone worked, including the children.[235]

Ba Che was in her mid-20s when she spent four years in Youth Center No. 2. She reported:

In my room there were about 30 females and in my section 300. Among the people in my room there were only 4 of us over 20. Among the 14 to 16 year olds that I lived with, they all had to work…
They worked seven to eight hours a day sewing shirts or sewing plastic decorations on clothing or producing plastic drinking straws…. If they refused to work they were shouted at. Then they had to wash floors or clean the house or hoe the garden for punishment until they agreed to go back to their regular jobs.[236]

Beatings and Ill-Treatment

Can Loc was a child when he was detained for five years in Youth Center No. 2. He told Human Rights Watch:

I was beaten and put into a punishment room for fighting. The staff beat me on the arm and back with a truncheon.… Then I went to the punishment room. It was about 6 by 12 meters and when I was in there 41 others were too. It was locked. There was no work and no school. We had no contact with other detainees or relatives…. I was kept there for three months and seven days.

He added, “We are humans but they hit us so hard.”[237]

No Separation from Adults

A number of former detainees reported that children were detained in the same cells are adults. Tan Uyen, a man in his mid-20s released in 2009, was detained for four years at Youth Center No. 2. He told Human Rights Watch:

In my room of approximately 30, we all slept on mats of the floor and there were five or six boys ages 15, 16, and 17.[238]

Con Cuong and Thai Hoa were both adults when detained. They also told Human Rights Watch they were detained in the same room as children at Youth Center No. 2.[239]

Legal Principles

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Vietnam is a party, obligates the government to protect children from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”[240]

Just as with adults, all children detained must be treated with dignity and there is an absolute prohibition on subjecting a child to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.[241]

The CRC states that any arrest, detention, or imprisonment of a child must conform with the law and can be done only as a “measure of last resort.”[242] Moreover, children deprived of their liberty have the right to challenge the legality of their detention before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority and are entitled to a prompt decision on any such action.[243] This means that in general a child should not be detained unless it is adjudicated that he or she has committed a violent act against someone or is persistent in committing other serious offenses and there is no other appropriate response.[244] The Committee on the Rights of the Child has said that states should therefore develop non-institutional forms of treatment for children.[245]

The detention of persons under age 18 in the same facilities as adults is prohibited under international human rights law and Vietnamese law.[246] The decrees governing drug detention centers require children to be detained in separate areas.[247]

The CRC guarantees all children the right “to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be … harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.”[248] Human Rights Watch believes that the situation in drug detention centers is a form of economic exploitation, given that child detainees must work and are required to do so for wages far below the lowest minimum wage set in law for other categories of workers.[249]

Forced labor is among the worst forms of child labor and is prohibited for all children. The International Labour Organization’s Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (ILO Convention 182) forbids forced or compulsory labor for children, defined as any person under the age of 18, and all ILO members are bound by the Declaration on Fundamental Principles, which requires all ILO members to realize the effective abolition of child labor.[250] Vietnam is obligated to take effective and time-bound measures to prevent the engagement of children in forced labor and to provide direct assistance for removing children from forced labor, among other measures.[251]

Drug Treatment

Khoai Chau is a woman in her early 30s who spent two years in Center No. 1 in Dak Nong province. Her assessment of the drug treatment available in her center was blunt:

Other than the labor there was no help for addiction. I worked until the time expired and then I went home.[252]

Some centers implement what are termed “collective therapy” classes.[253] Cua Lo spent 18 months in Center No. 5 in Dak Nong province. He explains that the content of the classes in his center involved the portrayal of drugs as a “social evil.”

They talked to us a lot about the evils of drug use, how it got more serious with time, and how people with addictions spent more and more money and then robbed people. We sometimes shouted slogans, maybe once every few months. Usually we just worked.[254]

Huong Son, who was released in late 2009, told Human Rights Watch that marching while chanting slogans was the only attempt at drug dependency treatment at Phuoc Binh.

No treatment for the disease of addiction was available there. Once a month or so we marched around for a couple of hours chanting slogans.[255]

Thai Hoa related that morning exercises at his center involved shouting the slogan “Try your best to quit drugs!” three times.[256] Similarly, Kinh Mon explained he had to shout “Healthy! Healthy! Healthy!” while performing morning exercises.[257]

Legal Principles

The right to health includes the principle of treatment following informed consent. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights addresses the right to health which the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights deems to include “the right to be free from ... non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation.”[258] The special rapporteur on the right to health has stated that:

Informed consent is not mere acceptance of a medical intervention, but a voluntary and sufficiently informed decision, protecting the right of the patient to be involved in medical decision-making, and assigning associated duties and obligations to health-care providers. Its ethical and legal normative justifications stem from its promotion of patient autonomy, self-determination, bodily integrity and well-being.[259]

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) note, “only in exceptional crisis situations of high risk to self or others, compulsory treatment should be mandated for specific conditions and periods of time as specified by the law.”[260]

Compulsory treatment in such exceptional circumstances can only be legally justified if the treatment provided is scientifically and medically appropriate. Absent such conditions, there is no justification for compulsory treatment.

The CESCR has stated that a state’s health facilities, goods, and services amongst others things should be acceptable and of good quality.[261] Forcing people to undergo supposed “treatment” that is not evidence-based violates this requirement.

[60] Human Rights Watch interview with Quy Hop, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[61] Ordinance 44, art. 118 allows for administrative decisions to be appealed.

[62] Human Rights Watch interview with Cam Khe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[63] The civil defense force (dan phong) is a voluntary security force under the authority of ward-level People's Committees that often collaborates with local police. 

[64] Human Rights Watch interview with Lang Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[65] Human Rights Watch interview with Muong Nhe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[66] For example, Human Rights Watch interviews with Tra Linh, Trung Khanh, Truc Ninh, Quy Hop, Ly Nhan, Ouynh Luu, Yen The, Ba Che and Tien Du, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[67] Human Rights Watch interview with Tra Linh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[68] Human Rights Watch interview with Ly Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[69] Human Rights Watch interview with Khoai Chau, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[70] Human Rights Watch interview with Xuan Truong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[71] Human Rights Watch interview with Tien Du, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[72] Human Rights Watch interview with Muong Nhe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[73] Human Rights Watch interview with Kinh Mon, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[74] Human Rights Watch interview with Cho Don, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[75] Human Rights Watch interview with An Thi, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[76] Human Rights Watch interview with Cho Don, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[77] Human Rights Watch interview with Truc Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[78] Human Rights Watch interview with Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[79] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 10.

[80] See Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, arts. 9-22 and Ordinance 44, arts. 93-101.

[81] See Joint Circular 22/2004/TTLT-BLDTBXH-BCA, “Guiding the Implementation of a Number of Articles of the Government’s Decree No. 135/2004/ND-CP of June 10, 2004,” issued by the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Public Security, dated December 31, 2004, section B.

[82] See Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, arts.17- 25.

[83] Ibid., art. 22.

[84] Appeals of administrative decisions can be appealed under Ordinance 44, art. 44 and Decree 76, art. 35.

[85] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force March 23, 1976, acceded to by Vietnam on September 24, 1982.

[86] An arbitrary detention includes detentions for which there is no basis in law, or which are not carried out in accordance with the law, but also include detentions with “elements of inappropriateness, injustice, lack of predictability and due process of law.” See, Communication No. 458/1991, A. W. Mukong v. Cameroon (Views adopted on 21 July 1994), in U.N. doc. GAOR, A/49/40 (vol. II), p. 181, para.. 9.8. The UN Human Rights Committee has confirmed that art. 9(1) “is applicable to all deprivations of liberty, whether in criminal cases or in other cases such as, for example, mental illness, vagrancy, drug addiction, educational purposes, immigration control, etc.” See Human Rights Committee, “General Comment 8: Right to liberty and security of the person (art.9),” June 30, 1982, para. 1.

[87] ICCPR, art. 9 (4).

[88]  Human Rights Watch interview with Vu Ban, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[89] Regarding the legal obligation of detainees to abide by center rules, the 2009 decree establishes that detainees have a responsibility “to actively participate in laboring and production [and] to complete the assigned target on volume and quality of work.” Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, art. 34(1)(b) [translation by Human Rights Watch]. See also Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, arts. 30 and 32. Regarding the director’s authority to punish detainees, see Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 57(1) and Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, art. 43(1).

[90] See Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 70(3) ; Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, art. 31(2).

[91] For example, Human Rights Watch interview with Can Loc, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[92] Human Rights Watch interview with Quy Hop, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[93] Human Rights Watch interview with Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[94] Human Rights Watch interview with Thach An, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[95] Human Rights Watch interview with Ly Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[96] Human Rights Watch interview with Que Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[97] Human Rights Watch interview with Cam Khe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[98] For example, Human Rights Watch interviews with Trung Khanh and Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[99] Ministry of Labor, “Assessment of effectiveness of treatment for drug addiction and preventative measures, care and treatment for HIV/AIDS at Centers for Treatment-Education-Social Labor in Vietnam,” 2009, p. 117. Copy on file with Human Rights Watch.

[100] The preambles to key human rights treaties recognize that ensuring respect for human rights is a shared responsibility that extends to “every organ of society,” not only to states. In addition, the preambles of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognize that “individuals” have human rights responsibilities, a term that can incorporate juridical persons (including businesses) as well as natural persons. The fundamental concept that businesses have human rights responsibilities is also reflected in the decisions of the UN Human Rights Council on business and human rights, discussed further below, as well as in the International Labour Organization’s Tripartite Declaration of Principles, the UN Global Compact, and elsewhere.

[101] For example, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) issued a policy statement that reads in part: “Respect for human rights constitutes a baseline expectation for companies operating in any country. All companies, regardless of their size or home country, are expected to obey applicable laws and regulations, including those aimed at protecting human rights. Where national law is absent, or not enforced, companies are expected to respect the principles of relevant international instruments.” International Chamber of Commerce, “Policy statement: ICC views on business and human rights,” December 10, 2008. This statement expanded on a joint statement ICC issued with two other business groupings in May 2008. See www.biac.org/statements/investment/08-05_IOE-ICC-BIAC_letter_on_Human_Rights.pdf

[102] See United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), Resolution 8/7, “Mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises,” June 18, 2008; and HRC, Resolution A/HRC/17/L.17/Rev.1, “Human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises,” June 16,2011.

[103] Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, “The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Supply Chains,” Discussion Paper for the 10th OECD Roundtable on Corporate Responsibility, June 30, 2010, http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/17/50/45535896.pdf.

[104] Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, “Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights,” UN document A/HRC/8/5, April 7, 2008; and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework," UN document A/HRC/17/31, March 21, 2011.

[105] Emphasis removed from the original. Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, “The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Supply Chains,” Discussion Paper for the 10th OECD Roundtable on Corporate Responsibility, June 30, 2010, http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/17/50/45535896.pdf (accessed August 24, 2011).

[106] “Domestic cashew prices top VND 30,000/kilo, Vietnam Business News, February 18, 2011, http://vietnambusiness.asia/domestic-cashew-prices-top-vnd30000kg/ (accessed May 12, 2011).

[107] “Vietnam cashew nut export revenue soars,” Commodity Online, March 17, 2011, http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Vietnam-cashew-nut-export-revenue-soars-37338-3-1.html (accessed May 12, 2011).

[108] “Nation stays atop cashew heap,” Vietnam News, January 8, 2011, http://vietnamnews.vnanet.vn/Economy/207434/Nation-stays-atop-cashew-heap.html (accessed May 12, 2011).

[109] See, for example, Son Phuong, “New Height for Cashew Nuts,” undated, Vietnamese Business Forum, http://vccinews.com/news_detail.asp?news_id=3479 (accessed July 28, 2011); “Vietnam cashew nut export revenue soars,” Commodity Online, March 17, 2011.

[110] Le Thanh Loan et al., “Cashew nut supply chains in Vietnam: A case study in Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc provinces, Vietnam,” Southeast Asian Network for Agroforestry Education, August 2006, quoting government sources, http://www.socialforestry.org.vn/Research%20&%20Extension.htm (accessed July 28, 2011). Binh Phuoc—an agriculturally productive province that borders Cambodia and the southern Central Highlands—accounted for about a third of this area, and cashew plantations in that province grew in proportion: the number of hectares planted with cashew trees in Binh Phuoc province expanded from 64,830 (1999) to 116,029 (2005): Le Thanh Loan et al., “Cashew nut supply chains in Vietnam,” Southeast Asian Network for Agroforestry Education.

[111] Binh Duc center- Quy Hop, Que Phong; Phu Van center- Lang Giang, Luong Tai, Kinh Mon, Hai Duong; Duc Hanh center- Truc Ninh; Phu Duc center- Thach An. The fifth center in Binh Duong province is Phu Nghia. The former detainee from Phu Nghia with whom Human Rights Watch spoke gave little information on that center as she was only detained there for one year (out of a total of five years in detention).

[112] Phuoc Binh center (Dong Nai province)- Thach An, Huong Son; Center No. 1 (Dak Nong province)- An Thi, Khoai Chau; Center No. 2 (Lam Dong province)- Vu Ban, Trung Khanh, Xuan Truong; Center No. 3 (Binh Duong province)- Quynh Luu; Center No. 5 (Dak Nong province)- Muong Nhe, Dong Van, Cua Lo, Dinh Lap, Bac Thong, Tien Du; Nhi Xuan center- Ly Nhan; Youth Center No. 2 (Ho Chi Minh City)-Thai Hoa.

[113] The cashew “apple” can be eaten. The oil from the cashew shell, actually contained between the shell’s two layers, also has industrial and medicinal uses.

[114] B. Hilton, "Additional Comments About Cashew." ECHO Development Notes, Issue 63, 1999. See also Quang Thuan, “Cashew exporters won’t benefit from high prices: Vinacas,” Thanh Nien News, August 22, 2004, http://www.thanhniennews.com/2004/Pages/20048232323540.aspx (accessed July 7, 2011).

[115] The Law on Business Income (2008) provides that, “Income from the production, trading and service operations of enterprises exclusively employing the disabled, post rehabilitation people and HIV-positive persons” will be exempt from tax. See Law on Business Income, No. 14/2008/QH12 dated June 3, 2008, art. 4.http://baoquangnam.com.vn/component/content/article/102-van-ban-phap-luat/21126-luat-the-thu-nhap-doanh-nghiep.html  (accessed May 12, 2011) [translation by Human Rights Watch].

[116] See Practical Action, “Technical Brief: Cashew Nut Processing,” p. 5, http://practicalaction.org/practicalanswers/product_info.php?products_id=77 (accessed July 28, 2011). Cashew nut shell liquid is found in the shell around the cashew kernel. It contains 90 percent anacardic acid and 10 percent cardol, caustic substances that can cause skin blisters. Because of these hazards, India has banned children from working in cashew husking or skinning; see e.g. India’s Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986.

[117] Human Rights Watch interview with Trung Khanh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[118] Human Rights Watch interview with Tien Du, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with Cua Lo, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[120] Human Rights Watch interview with Vu Ban, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[121] Human Rights Watch interview with Kinh Mon, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[122] Human Rights Watch interview with Lang Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[123] Human Rights Watch interviews with Lang Giang and Kinh Mon, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[124] Dong Hung, “Post rehab individuals in HCM city: Experimenting with re-integrating into the community,” Viet Bao, October 15, 2005, http://vietbao.vn/Xa-hoi/Nguoi-sau-cai-nghien-tai-TP-HCM-Thi-diem-tai-hoa-nhap-cong-dong/40103202/157/(accessed July 25, 2011) [translation by Human Rights Watch].

[125] Human Rights Watch interview (name withheld), Phnom Penh, January 2011.

[126] See Ministry of Industry and Trade, “Son Long Joint Stock Company,” undated, http://dnxnk.moit.gov.vn/EntpDetail.asp?ID=5776&Langs=2 (accessed April 2, 2011). Copy on file with Human Rights Watch. The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s list of reliable exporters is intended to create “a reliable focal point for enterprises searching for business opportunities, especially for the foreign enterprises while searching for Vietnamese export partners.” See Ministry of Industry and Trade, “Criteria of Selection,” undated, http://dnxnk.moit.gov.vn/chitieuxetchon.asp?Langs=2 (accessed July 27, 2011).

[127] Letters from Human Rights Watch to the Director of Son Long J.S.C., May 2, 2011 and June 10, 2011, copies on file with Human Rights Watch.

[128] Human Rights Watch interviews with Kinh Mon, Que Phong, and Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[129] Human Rights Watch interview with Kinh Mon, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[130]  Human Rights Watch interview with Que Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[131] Human Rights Watch interview with Huong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010. Monosodium glutamate, a common flavor enhancer for food, can be produced by fermenting carbohydrates, including those found in potatoes.

[132] Human Rights Watch interview with Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[133] Human Rights Watch interview with Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[134] Human Rights Watch interview with Trung Khanh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[135] Human Rights Watch interview with Ly Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[136] Human Rights Watch interviews with Tra Linh, Truc Ninh, Quy Hop, Hai Duong, An Thi, Khoai Chau, Yen The, Ba Che, Cho Don, Tien Du, and Vu Ban, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[137] Former detainees explained that families pay money into detainees’ accounts, both to meet the charges levied by the centers and to give their relatives some credit. Detainees then use credit in their account— which either exists because family members deposited money or from wages that remained after center-imposed deductions—to purchase personal items from the center canteen. However, these items are not luxuries. They include sufficient food such as breakfast (which otherwise is not provided) and personal hygiene items such as soap and toothpaste. For example, Human Rights Watch interviews with Duc Tho, Can Loc, An Thi, Vu Ban, and Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[138] Human Rights Watch interview with An Thi, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[139] Human Rights Watch interview with Truc Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[140] Human Rights Watch interview with Hai Duong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[141] Human Rights Watch interviews with Trung Khanh, Quy Hop, and Xuan Truong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[142] Human Rights Watch interview with Xuan Truong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[143] Human Rights Watch interview with Con Cuong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[144]  Centers No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, the center in Long An province and Phu Van center. Human Rights Watch interviews with Quynh Luu, Con Cuong, Dinh Lap, Huu Lung, and Cho Don, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[145] Human Rights Watch interview with Luc Ngan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[146] Ibid.

[147] “A Chance To Rebuild Their Life,” Saigon Times Magazine, November 6, 2003; Thu Hang, “Factories exclusively for post-rehabilitation individuals,” Vietnam Express, April 20, 2004 [translation by Human Rights Watch], http://vnexpress.net/gl/xa-hoi/2004/04/3b9d1d86/ (accessed February 15, 2011).

[148] Panpages (online business directory), “Tran Boi Production Co. Ltd.,” undated, http://vietnam.panpages.com/industry-agricultural-and-garment/plastic-products/tran-boi-production-coltd-34116.html (accessed February 15, 2011).

[149] Letters from Human Rights Watch to the Director of Tran Boi Production Co. Ltd., May 2, 2011 and June 10, 2011, copies on file with Human Rights Watch.

[150] Vestergaard Frandsen, “PermaNet 2.0: Long-lasting Insecticidal Net,” undated, http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/component/docman/cat_view/51-product-brochures/61-permanetr/62-permanetr-20 (accessed July 5, 2011).

[151] Vestergaard Frandsen, “Business Conduct Principles,” undated, www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/our-passion/business-conduct-principles (accessed July 5, 2011).

[152] Human Rights Watch interview (name withheld), Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 8, 2010. This report of production of bed nets is unrelated to the mention of bed nets by Vu Ban in Center No. 2 (page 65). 

[153] Letter from Human Rights Watch to Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, chief executive officer of Vestergaard Frandsen SA, April 1, 2011. Copy on file with Human Rights Watch.

[154] Human Rights Watch interview with Vestergaard Frandsen executives, New York, April 19, 2011.

[155] Email communication from Jaques Bogh, Corporate Tax and Compliance manager, Vestergaard Frandsen, to Human Rights Watch, July 1, 2011.

[156] Vestergraad Frandsen, “Responsible Supply Chain Management- Detailed system description,” unpublished document, June 2011, p. 4. Copy on file with Human Rights Watch.

[157] See Ministry of Labor, “Assessment of effectiveness of treatment for drug addiction and preventative measures, care and treatment for HIV/AIDS at Centers for Treatment-Education-Social Labor in Vietnam,” 2009, p. 159.

[158] “The need to closely monitor the local area and prevent social illness at an early time,” Cong An Nhan Dan, April 28, 2008, http://ca.cand.com.vn/News/PrintView.aspx?ID=126407 (accessed May 12, 2011) [translation by Human Rights Watch].

[159] For example, a Viet Bao article published on July 22, 2004—three days after the decree was issued— provides an overview of Decree 146 of 2004. Center directors “must organize the rehab patient to voluntarily enroll in a vocational training and job placement establishment,” including those who “refuse to voluntarily enroll in vocational training and job placement” but are deemed at “a high risk of relapse.” The decree provides for extensions of one to two years if necessary, but no more than three years. “Vocational training establishments must not reject rehab patients,” Viet Bao, July 22, 2004, http://pda.vietbao.vn/Viec-lam/Co-so-day-nghe-khong-duoc-tu-choi-nguoi-cai-nghien/20218320/271/ (accessed May 12, 2011) [translation by Human Rights Watch].

[160] Human Rights Watch interview with Luc Ngan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[161] While not binding on Vietnam, the ILO’s C142 Human Resources Development Convention, 1975 is instructive on this point. According to art. 1(5): “The policies and programmes [of vocational guidance and vocational training] shall encourage and enable all persons, on an equal basis and without any discrimination whatsoever, to develop and use their capabilities for work in their own best interests and in accordance with their own aspirations, account being taken of the needs of society.”

[162] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 32 states “Individuals being taken into rehab centers must comply with the labor policy and working hours stipulated by the Labor Law” [translation by Human Rights Watch]. See also Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, of 2009, art 34(2).

[163] The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 8) and the regional human rights conventions—the European Convention on Human Rights (art. 4.2), the American Convention on Human Rights (art. 6.2), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (art. 15), prohibit forced or compulsory labor. ILO Convention No. 29 concerning Forced Labour (adopted June 28, 1930, entered into force May 1, 1932) and the ILO Convention No. 105 concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour (adopted June 25, 1957—entered into force January 17, 1959) prohibit the practice, and in 1998 the ILO adopted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles (adopted by the International Labour Conference at its eighty-sixth session, Geneva, June 18, 1998) which declares that all ILO members—of which Vietnam is one—even if they have not ratified either of the above conventions are obliged to respect, promote, and realize the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor (art.2).

[164] ILO Convention No. 29 concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor , art. 2, ratified by Vietnam on March 5, 2007.

[165] For example, the ILO’s Special Youth Schemes Recommendation 1970 (1970) indicates that obligatory schemes of education and training may be compatible with the forced labor conventions, but limits such schemes to those involving the obligatory enrolment of unemployed young people for a definite period, and clarifies that any schemes involving an obligation to serve require prior consent (paras. 7(1) and (2)(a) and (b)).

[166] See, for example, International Labour Conference, General Survey concerning the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105) (Geneva: ILO, 2007), para. 36.

[167] The ILO states that workers have the right to revoke freely-given consent, noting “many victims enter forced labor situations initially of their own accord … only to discover later that they are not free to withdraw their labor. They are subsequently unable to leave their work owing to legal, physical or psychological coercion.” See International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance Against Forced Labor: Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights of Work (Geneva: ILO, 2005), p. 6.

[168] The Vietnamese labor law establishes that “all forms of forced labor are prohibited.” See Vietnam Labor Code, June 23, 1994, art. 5.

[169] Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 (19 USC. 1307); amended in 2006.The US “Definition of Core Labor Standards,” as amended by the 109th Congress states in section 3 (a): “In General- In this Act, the term `core labor standards', means-- (1) the right of association; (2) the right to organize and bargain collectively; (3) a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor; (4) a minimum age for the employment of children; and (5) acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.”

[170] See US Department of Labor, “The Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor: Report required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Acts of 2005 and 2008,” 2009, www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/pdf/2009tvpra.pdf (accessed August 2, 2011).

[171] Socialist Republic of Vietnam, “Statement in Support of Designation of Vietnam as a Beneficiary Developing Country Under the US Generalized System of Preferences,” May 9, 2008, in List of Public Comments for Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Country Eligibility Review (In Response to Federal Register Notice in Vol. 73, No. 120, Friday, June 20, 2008, Page No. 35173.) August 4, 2008, http://www.ustr.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/gsp/asset_upload_file29_15061.pdf (accessed August 24, 2011).

[172] (accessed August 2, 2011).  European Community, Government of Vietnam, “Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” July 17, 1995, art. 3.

[173] Ibid., art. 1.

[174] “Vietnam, EC ink PCA in Brussels,” [Vietnam] ministry of Planning and Investment press release, October 5, 2010, www.mpi.gov.vn/portal/page/portal/mpi_en/32343?pers_id=417323&item_id=15611811&p_details=1 (accessed July 28, 2011).

[175] EC Council Regulation No 732/2008, arts. 15 [1a] and 16 [3].

[176] EC Council Regulation No 732/2008, arts. 17-19.

[177] Human Rights Watch interview with Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[178]Human Rights Watch interview with Cam Khe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[179] Human Rights Watch interview with Tan Uyen, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[180]The minimum wage of VND350,000 (approximately $17) a month in 2005 and 2006 was established by Decree No.118/2005/ND-CP, “Adjusting the Common Minimum Wage,” September 15, 2005. The minimum wage of VND 450,000 (approximately $21.50) a month in 2007 was established by Decree No.94/2006/ND-CP, “Adjusting the Common Minimum wage Level,” September 7, 2006. The minimum wage of VND 540,000 (approximately $26) a month in 2008 was established by Decree No.166/2007/ND-CP, “Providing for the Common Minimum Wage level,” November 16, 2007. The minimum wage of VND 650,000 (approximately $31) per month in 2009 was established by Decree No. 110/2008/ND-CP, “Prescribing Region-based Minimum Wage Levels for Laborers Working for Vietnamese Companies, Enterprises, Cooperatives, Cooperative Groups, Farms, Household s and Individuals and other Vietnamese Organisations Employing Laborers,” October 10, 2008. The minimum wage of VND 730,000 (approximately $35) per month was established by Decree No. 97/2009/ND-CP, “Prescribing Region-based Minimum Wage Levels for Laborers Working for Vietnamese Companies, Enterprises, Cooperatives, Cooperative Groups, Farms, Household s and Individuals and other Vietnamese Organisations Employing Laborers,” October 30, 2009.

[181] Human Rights Watch interview with An Thi, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[182] Human Rights Watch interview with Cho Don, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[183] Human Rights Watch interview with Truc Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[184] Human Rights Watch interview with Ly Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[185] Human Rights Watch interview with Dong Van, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[186] Human Rights Watch interview with Que Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[187] Human Rights Watch interview with Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[188]Human Rights Watch interview with Huong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[189] Human Rights Watch interview with Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[190]Human Rights Watch interview with Ly Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[191] Human Rights Watch interview with Truc Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010

[192] Human Rights Watch interview with Huong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[193] Human Rights Watch interviews with Muong Nhe, Quy Hop, Ly Nhan, An Thi, and Con Cuong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[194] Human Rights Watch interview with Vu Ban, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[195] Human Rights Watch interview with Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[196] Vietnam Labor Code 1992, art. 55.

[197] Ibid., art. 60(1).

[198] Human Rights Watch interview with Dong Van, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010. Also Human Rights Watch interview with Muong Nhe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[199] Human Rights Watch interviews with Xuan Truong, Trung Khanh, and Cua Lo, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[200] Human Rights Watch interview with Trung Khanh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[201] Human Rights Watch interview with Truc Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[202] Human Rights Watch interview with Cua Lo, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[203] Human Rights Watch interview with Tien Du, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[204] Human Rights Watch interview with Con Cuong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[205] Human Rights Watch interview with Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[206] Human Rights Watch interview with Huong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[207] Human Rights Watch interview with Cam Khe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[208] Human Rights Watch interview with Huong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[209] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 70 [translation by Human Rights Watch]. See also Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, art. 31(2).

[210] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 70; Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, art. 31 (2).

[211] Human Rights Watch interviews with Lang Giang and Muong Nhe, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[212] Human Rights Watch interviews with Tra Linh, Muong Nhe, Ly Nhan, Can Loc, Ouynh Luu, Que Phong, Khoai Chau, Yen The, Tien Du, Xuan Truong, Thach An, Truc Ninh, Dong Van, Quy Hop, Huong Son, Kinh Mon, and Bach Thong, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[213] Human Rights Watch interview with Ly Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[214] Human Rights Watch interview with Vu Ban, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[215] Human Rights Watch interview with Quynh Luu, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[216]Human Rights Watch interview with Cho Don, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[217] Human Rights Watch interview with Lang Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[218] Human Rights Watch interview with Tra Linh, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[219] ICCPR, arts. 10 and 7. Vietnam acceded to the ICCPR on September 24, 1982.

[220] U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, para. 31.

[221] Ibid., para. 28(1).

[222] Report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture (1986), E/CN.4/1986/15, para. 119.

[223] Article 21(1) states, "Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits." U.N. Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, art 21(1).

[224] Manfred Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, CCPR Commentary (2nd edition) (Khel: N.P. Engel, 2005), pp. 165, 172 - 175, 244 – 9. See for example cases against Uruguay such as Buffo Carball v. Uruguay, No. 33/1978, Massiotti v. Uruguay, No. 25/1978; Madagascar: Marais v. Madagascar, No. 49/1979, Wight v. Madagascar, No. 115/1982; Jamaica: Robinson v Jamaica No. 731/1996 , Pennant v Jamaica, No. 647/1995; Russia: Lantsova v Russian Federation, No. 763/1997.

[225] Para. 20(1).

[226] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 6.

[227] Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, “Report to the national Assembly on the result of five years’ implementation of Decree No. 16/2003/QH11 on Post rehab monitoring, vocational training and job placement,” May 5, 2008, annex 2b.

[228] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 24.

[229] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 44 states: “Outside of the time spent on education [and] treatment, adolescent [detainees] must participate in therapeutic labor as organized by the Centers for Social Treatment – Education,” [translation by Human Rights Watch].

[230] Decree 94/2009/ND-CP, October 26, 2009, art. 17(1).

[231] Human Rights Watch interview with Huu Lung, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[232] Human Rights Watch interview with Dinh Lap, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[233] For example, Human Rights Watch interviews with Tan Uyen and Can Loc, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[234] Human Rights Watch interview with Luc Ngan, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[235] Human Rights Watch interview with Thai Hoa, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[236] Human Rights Watch interview with Ba Che, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[237] Human Rights Watch interview with Can Loc, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[238] Human Rights Watch interview with Tan Uyen, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[239] Human Rights Watch interview with Con Cuong and Thai Hoa, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[240] Convention on the Rights of the Child, (CRC), adopted November 20, 1989, G.A. Res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989), entered into force September 2, 1990, art. 19(1). Vietnam ratified the CRC on February 28, 1990.

[241] ICCPR art. 7; CRC art. 37(a). See also Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Report to General Assembly 2000, A/55/290, paras. 11 and 12, http://www.un.org/documents/ga/docs/55/a55290.pdf (accessed July 28, 2009).

[242] CRC, art. 37(b).

[243] CRC, art. 37(d).

[244] The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (“Beijing Rules”), adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985, http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/40/a40r033.htm (accessed July 28, 2011).

[245] See e.g. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Latvia, CRC/C/LVA/CO/2,para.. 62(d); Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Brunei Darussalam, CRC/C/15/Add.219, paras. 53 and 54; and Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Vincent and the Grenadines CRC/C/15/Add.184, paras. 50 and 51.

[246] ICCPR, art 10(2) and 10(3); CRC art. 37(c); Drug law, arts. 29(2) and 31.

[247] Decree 135/2004/ND-CP, June 10, 2004, art. 52(1).

[248]Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 32(1).

[249] See the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report on the Fourth Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/20, October 25, 1993, paras. 186-196 and Annexes V-VI.

[250]ILO Convention (182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, adopted by the General Conference of the International Labour Organization on June 17, 1999, entered into force on November 19, 2000. Vietnam ratified on December 19, 2000. See also [ILO] Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/pdconv.pl?host=status01&textbase=iloeng&document=11108&chapter=6&query=China%40ref&highlight=&querytype=bool&context=0 (accessed July 28, 2011). The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its eighty-sixth session, Geneva, June 18, 1998, art.2.

[251] ILO Convention No. 182, art. 7.

[252] Human Rights Watch interview with Khoai Chau, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[253] According to law, “collective therapy” classes include: “Arranging for drug addicts to study about morality, life styles, citizen rights and responsibilities, learning about the Drugs Law as well as other legal documents, enforcing a healthy way of behavior and living free from drugs.” Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Health, Interministrial Circular No. 41/2004/TTLT/BLDTBXH-BYT dated December 31, 2010, art. 5 [translation by Human Rights Watch].

[254] Human Rights Watch interview with Cua Lo, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[255] Human Rights Watch interview with Huong Son, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010 .

[256] Human Rights Watch interview with Thai Hoa, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[257] Human Rights Watch interview with Kinh Mon, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010.

[258] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200 A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1996), 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force January 3 1976, accede to by Vietnam on September 24, 1982. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is the U.N. body responsible for monitoring compliance with the ICESCR. U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 14: The right to the highest attainable standard of health, UN Doc. E/C.12/2000/4, adopted August 11, 2000, para. 34. 

[259] Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, “Report to the General Assembly, August 10, 2009,” UN Doc. A/64/272, para. 9. 

[260] UNODC/WHO, “Principles of Drug Dependency Treatment,” March 2008, p.9.

[261]CESCR General Comment No. 14, para. 12.