A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

US, Vietnam resume human rights dialogue after three-year hiatus

[JURIST] The United States and Vietnam have ended a three-year suspension on talks regarding human rights and religious freedoms [HRW backgrounder] in the communist country, Barry Lowenkron [official profile], US Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour [official website] said Monday. The suspension began when the US cancelled the annual Human Rights Dialogue with the Government of Vietnam in 2003 due to a lack of progress on the issues. In his announcement, Lowenkron highlighted progress made since that time, including the release of activist Nguyen Khac Toan [BBC report] in January, but urged the government to release more prisoners of conscience and emphasized the need for Hanoi to do more.

The US currently regards Vietnam as a "country of particular concern" (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 [text; State Dept. materials] for "particularly severe violations of religious freedom" [State Dept. report], but Hanoi agreed in 2005 to take steps to advance and protect religious freedom. Vietnam then defended its human rights record in its first White Paper on Human Rights [PDF text]. Despite the lack of dialogue between the countries at the time, US lawmakers last June called for a discussion [JURIST report] of rights issues when Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai [Wikipedia profile], the first Vietnamese head of government to visit the US since the end of the Vietnam War, met with President Bush [BBC report] last June. Reuters has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.