September 7, 2011

IV. Full Recommendations

To the Vietnamese Government

Regarding Arbitrary Detention of People who Use Drugs

  • Instruct the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to release current detainees in Vietnam’s drug detention centers, as their continued detention cannot be justified on legal or health grounds.
  • Instruct the Ministry of Labor to permanently close Vietnam’s drug detention centers.
  • Repeal all laws and subsidiary legislation authorizing the “administrative detention” without trial of people who use drugs in drug detention centers.
  • Guarantee full cooperation with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding any investigations or inquiries the working group undertakes into practices in the drug detention centers.

Regarding Torture and Ill-Treatment of Detainees in Drug Detention Centers

  • Carry out prompt, independent, thorough investigations into the use of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other human rights abuses and criminal acts in Vietnam’s drug detention centers. Follow up with appropriate legal action (including criminal prosecution) of identified perpetrators of abuses.
  • Provide adequate compensation and medical care to detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health suffered while in detention.
  • Promptly ratify and effectively implement the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment and its Optional Protocol.
  • Guarantee full cooperation with the special rapporteur on torture in relation to any investigations or inquiries he undertakes into practices in the drug detention centers.

Regarding the Use of Forced Labor in Drug Detention Centers

  • Instruct the Ministry of Labor to abolish forced labor in drug detention centers.
  • Carry out prompt, independent, and thorough investigations into the labor conditions in drug detention centers, as they amount to forced labor in violation of Vietnamese and international law. Follow up abuses and crimes with appropriate legal actions (including criminal prosecution) against those who have committed crimes or other offences against detainees in violation of Vietnamese law.
  • Publish a list of all forms of work in which detainees in the centers are involved, which products are processed using detainee labor in the drug centers, and the companies whose products are processed using detainee labor in the drug centers.
  • Instruct the Ministry of Labor to provide adequate compensation to detainees and former detainees for the forced labor they performed while in detention.
  • Promptly ratify and effectively implement ILO Convention No. 105 (Abolition of Forced Labor).
  • To meet the obligations under ILO Convention 29, revise the Penal Code to establish a specific criminal offence applicable to forced labor.

Regarding Health Care and Drug Dependency Treatment for Drug Users

  • Instruct the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor, and other relevant ministries and departments, and provincial, district, and commune-level People’s Committees, to expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment and ensure that such treatment is medically appropriate and comports with international standards.
  • Instruct the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, other relevant ministries and departments, and provincial, district, and commune-level People’s Committees to expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment for children, and ensure that such services are age-specific, medically appropriate, and include educational components.
  • Instruct the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, other relevant ministries and departments, and provincial, district, and commune-level People’s Committees to expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment that addresses the special needs of women and girls who use drugs.
  • Guarantee full cooperation with the special rapporteur on the right to health in relation to any investigations or inquiries he undertakes into practices in the drug detention centers.

To Vietnamese and Foreign Companies That Have Commercial Relationships with Drug Detention Centers in Vietnam

  • Cease all commercial relationships (including through sub-contractors and sub-sub-contractors) with Vietnam’s drug detention centers.
  • Establish an internal monitoring process within companies that is responsible for identifying situations in which the company may be failing to respect a range of relevant human rights, including the prohibition on forced labor, illegal child labor, unlawful payment of wages below the minimum wage, exploitative working conditions, etc., and taking the appropriate remedial measures. Monitors should be sufficiently independent of local suppliers.

To United Nations Agencies, including UNODC, WHO, OHCHR and UNAIDS

  • Publicly call for: i) detainees in Vietnam’s drug detention centers to be released, ii) the closure of the centers, iii) an investigation into allegations of human rights violations inside such centers, iv) holding those responsible for such violations to account, and v) reasonable compensation for detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health suffered during detention.
  • Review all funding, programming, and activities directed to assisting Vietnam’s drug detention centers to ensure no funding is supporting policies or programs that violate international human rights law, including prohibitions on arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • Actively encourage the Vietnamese government to expand voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment and ensure that such treatment is medically appropriate and comports with international standards.
  • Support and provide capacity-building projects for drug dependency treatment to Ministry of Health and NGOs.

To the Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on the Right to Health

  • Publicly call for: i) detainees in Vietnam’s drug detention centers to be released, ii) the closure of the centers, iii) an investigation into allegations of human rights violations inside such centers, iv) holding those responsible for such violations to account, and v) reasonable compensation for detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health suffered during detention.
  • Request an invitation to visit Vietnam to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by law enforcement officers and staff of drug detention centers in Vietnam against people who use drugs.

To the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Committee on the Rights of the Child

  • Raise concerns with Vietnam’s government regarding allegations of arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other abuses committed against people who use drugs (including children) by law enforcement officers and staff of drug detention centers in Vietnam.
  • Request further information from Vietnam’s government in its periodic reports on the detention and treatment of people in drug detention centers, including children.

To the Association of Southeastern Nations Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

  • Pursuant to article 4.6 of the AICHR Terms of Reference, publicly call for: i) detainees in Vietnam’s drug detention centers to be released, ii) the closure of the centers, iii) an investigation into the allegations of human rights violations occurring inside such centers, iv) holding those responsible for such violations to account, v) reasonable compensation for detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health suffered while in detention.
  • Pursuant to article 4.10 of the AICHR Terms of Reference, request information from Vietnam regarding allegations of arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other abuses committed against people who use drugs (including children) by law enforcement officers and staff of drug detention centers in Vietnam.
  • Pursuant to article 4.12 of the AICHR Terms of Reference, prepare a study on the human rights abuses against people who use drugs in drug detention centers in Association of Southeastern Nations member states.

To the International Labour Organization

  • Members of the Workers Group on the ILO’s governing body should direct the ILO to engage the Vietnamese government to end forced labor in drug detention centers.
  • Instruct ILO’s Hanoi office to investigate the arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other abuses committed against people who use drugs (including children), by law enforcement officers and staff of drug detention centers in Vietnam.
  • Instruct ILO’s Special Action Program to Combat Forced Labor to engage the Ministry of Labor to end forced labor in drug detention centers.
  • Instruct ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour to engage the Ministry of Labor to end forced labor of children in drug detention centers.
  • The Committee on the Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) should issue a direct request to the Vietnamese government concerning the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, soliciting:
    • Relevant legislation regarding drug detention centers
    • Further information regarding the operation of drug detention centers, including whether work (as labor therapy or other rationale) in the centers is voluntary, sanctions (in law and practice) for refusing to work in the centers, actual wages paid to detainees, any charges levied by centers on detainee wages, and use of detainee labor for private enterprises.
  • Include the issue of forced labor in drug detention centers in any nationwide survey of forced labor and in any technical cooperation with the Ministry of Labor.

To Bilateral and Multilateral Donors and NGOs Assisting Vietnam on Drugs or HIV/AIDS Issues

  • Publicly call for: i) detainees in Vietnam’s drug detention centers to be released, and in particular for the law relating to seriously ill detainees to be implemented so that they can access treatment in the community, ii) the closure of the centers, iii) an investigation into allegations of human rights violations inside such centers, iv) holding those responsible for such violations to account, and v) reasonable compensation for detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health suffered during detention.
  • Review all funding, programming, and activities directed to assisting Vietnam’s drug detention centers to ensure no funding is supporting policies or programs that violate international human rights law, including prohibitions on arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • For donors funding capacity building projects on drug dependency treatment for drug detention center staff, or other Ministry of Labor staff who might work in drug detention centers, cease such projects immediately.
  • For donors funding HIV or TB-specific projects in Vietnam’s drug detention centers, call for the immediate release of all people living with HIV who are currently in detention centers in accordance with the law, and seek to ensure that they have access to voluntary, community-based healthcare services (including HIV treatment and care and drug dependency treatment if required).
  • Support the expansion of voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment, including appropriate services for women and children.
  • Direct support and capacity-building projects for drug dependency treatment to the Ministry of Health and NGOs.

To Vietnam’s Trading Partners

  • For countries negotiating or engaged in preferential trade programs with Vietnam, initiate an ongoing review of Vietnam’s eligibility, in light of its protection of the rights of people who use drugs.
  • The US trade representative should consider Vietnam’s eligibility for Generalized System of Preferences “developing country” status in light of the practice of forced labor in Vietnam’s drug detention centers, where goods are being produced that may be being exported to the US.
  • In light of reports from former detainees of cashew production in at least 11 of the 16 centers under the administration of Ho Chi Minh City authorities, the US Department of Labor should add cashews from Vietnam to its list of goods from around the world that are produced by forced or child labor.
  • In the context of negotiations for a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union, the EU should raise with the government of Vietnam the need to end forced labor in drug detention centers before the agreement is finalized.