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CĐNVTD Úc Châu gửi Thủ Tướng Úc Scott Morrison nhân chuyến công du đến Việt Nam

Cộng Đồng Người Việt Tự Do Úc Châu
ABN: 51 934 809 450

16 August 2019

The Hon. Scott Morrison, MP
Prime Minister of Australia
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

RE: Visit to Vietnam in August 2019 – Concerns raised by the Vietnamese Community in Australia

We have learned recently of your impending visit to Vietnam and amongst your busy schedule with matters to discuss, we provide the following matters we believe deserve being brought to the attention of the government of Vietnam.

Perceived/real threats of limiting civic engagement of Australians of Vietnamese background in Australia

The strength of our democracy and democratic values depends on the civic engagement of the citizens. However, in recent years, many Australians of Vietnamese background have expressed fear of being under threat when they visit Vietnam, for activities they participate lawfully in Australia as citizens.

The case of Mr Chau Van Kham, an Australian of Vietnamese background, is an example of a foreigner receiving unusually harsh treatment for breaching a law that typically does not warrant such sustained detention without trial. This is seen by many Vietnamese Australians as a deterrence to prevent and stop them from civic activities. Similarly, the case of Mr Trinh Xuan Thanh continues to be a matter of concern for many overseas Vietnamese. This is also a position worthy of further investigation, as many Vietnamese international students express concerns that they are being watched by members of the Vietnamese Communist Party in Australia, and are afraid to engage in what they see as democratic and civic engagement for fear of actual and perceived repercussions to them and their families in Vietnam.

More overt diplomacy with the government of Vietnam

We understand for decades that Australia takes a behind closed door and quiet diplomacy with the government of Vietnam. Whilst this approach in our opinion, may have been effective in the past, recent escalating development in the South China Sea (aka East Sea), the rising influence of China and the regional security instability may warrant a more open and overt approach. This is particularly pertinent given the strategic partnership level between two countries. We applaud the Minister for Foreign Affairs in her public responses to matters relating to statements from the Chinese Embassy on matters occurring in Australia. We are appreciative of parliamentarian Andrew Hastie for his perspectives in relation to China’s influence. We also support the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Register as well as the new legislations on foreign interference. We find it sceptically insightful that the government of Vietnam has no lobby activities that comply with the Register’s requirements.

Highlighting worsening human rights conditions in Vietnam

Worsening human rights conditions in Vietnam over the past years have been well documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch with an increasing number of not only human rights defenders being arrested and harshly sentenced, but also ordinary people who have been convicted for participating in peaceful protests for the first time. We believe raising this matter with specific cases directly to the Vietnamese Government, and informing the public where possible, provides greater understanding of the Australian Government’s position, transparency and our obligations with rules-based international order.

Cyber Security Legislation

The cyber security law which was introduced and passed by Social Republic of Vietnamese last year has not only raised concerns on human rights violation, it also has the potential to impact the confidentiality nature of trade and business activities between Vietnam and Australia. We, therefore request that it be raised with the Vietnamese government.

I wish you a productive visit and would be pleased to provide further information on matters raised in this letter via my email or mobile phone as detailed below should that be required.

Yours Sincerely
Bon Nguyen
Vietnamese Community in Australia


Letter to the PM Scott Morrison (pdf)





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