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Vietnam to drop detention rule ahead of Bush visit

[JURIST] The government of Vietnam will repeal or abolish administrative Decree 31/CP [translated text], which authorizes restrictions on citizens who commit security violations not rising to the level of criminality, in advance of US President George W. Bush's scheduled November trip to the country, according to a US official speaking to AFP. AFP's State Department source said Vietnam intends to repeal the decree, which has been used to detain dissidents and human rights activists without trial for periods stretching from six months to two years. The US has pressured Vietnam to drop the decree since the resumption of human rights talks [JURIST report] in February after a three-year hiatus. Vietnam has yet to formally announce their position on the issue.

Vietnamese human rights advocacy group Viet Tan [advocacy website, in Vietnamese] brought the decree to the attention of the US Congress after it was promulgated in 1997, and has been lobbying for its repeal since. Vietnam released activist Nguyen Khac Toan [BBC report] in January, partially in response to international pressure. AFP has more.

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