Background Briefing

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VII. Recommendations

Human Rights Watch urges the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to promptly take the following steps:

  1. Publish a central registry of the names and locations of all Montagnards held in pretrial detention, as well as a list of all those convicted and sentenced, and the relevant charges or reasons for their detention. 
  2. Release information about the status and location of persons included in Human Rights Watch’s list of 188 Montagnards known to be in prison as of January 2005 because of their political or religious beliefs.
  3. Guarantee that any persons charged in connection with the protests in the Central Highlands or the Dega church movement, receive trials in accordance with international fair trial standards set forth in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a party.  The trials should be public, open to both Vietnamese citizens and foreign observers.  Those accused should have access to legal counsel of their choosing and the free assistance of an interpreter where necessary, as mandated by both the ICCPR and Vietnam’s Constitution.
  4. Make a public commitment to end the practice of torture.  Appoint a special commission to investigate allegations of torture in the Central Highlands and to recommend appropriate prosecutions and discipline.
  5. Immediately allow unhindered access—without government escort—to diplomats, aid workers, independent human rights organizations, and journalists to the Central Highlands.
  6. Issue invitations to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, and the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions to visit Vietnam, with unrestricted access to the Central Highlands.

Human Rights Watch makes the following recommendations to the Royal Government of Cambodia:

  1. Honor its obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol not to return refugees to a place where their lives or freedom are under threat. 
  2. Prevent the involuntary return of any refugee or asylum seeker to Vietnam––including those whose asylum claims may have been initially rejected by UNHCR––until it has been determined that adequate monitoring and protection measures are in place to ensure that returnees can go back voluntarily and in safety and in dignity.
  3. Meet its legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture not to return a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
  4. Immediately authorize UNHCR to re-establish its field presence in Mondolkiri and Ratanakiri provinces, re-open the provincial refugee camps, maintain the refugee shelters and transit centers in Phnom Penh, and provide ongoing protection and assistance to refugees from Vietnam.
  5. With assistance from UNHCR and the Cambodia Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, provide training to Cambodian border officials and police on refugee protection standards, and the fundamental norm of non-refoulement, or non-return of persons who have a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of origin.

<<previous  |  indexJanuary 2005