The Vietnamese government, notorious for its abysmal human rights track record, has sent a female political activist to a drug rehabilitation center without trial or any sort of due process. The female activist, Bui Thi Minh Hang (pictured to the right), who has been detained four times in the past for joining protests in the capital city of Hanoi will spend two years at the Thanh Ha drug rehabilitation center in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, decried as essentially a reeducation camp.
Though she and her lawyer have lodged complaints and a petition, authorities did not make any sort of response.
Bui Thi Minh Hang has risen to prominence over the years for her activism against the Chinese government’s foreign policies which include alleged interference in Vietnam’s trade and making offensive territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea has been the site of a tense standoff between China and the rest of Southeastern Asia including Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia due to the abundance of natural resources.
In late 2011, the Vietnamese government started to show off military power by carrying out artillery drills in the disputed territories much to China’s chagrin.
Civilian protests in Vietnam in front of Hanoi’s Chinese embassy weren’t uncommon sights. . .nor the anti-Chinese tirades of political leaders in the Philippines due to at least a dozen naval incidents with China in 2011.
Concerning Bui Thi Minh Hang, there is no past history of medication or any drug addictions so her detainment at a drug rehabilitation center is obviously the Vietnamese government’s reactionary punishment for attending highly sensitive protests.
Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director Phil Robertson stated,
“There is no justification for the Vietnamese authorities to pack off a peaceful protester to what is effectively a forced labor camp.. Detaining Bui Thi Minh Hang without trial shows a disturbing disregard for her human rights and guarantees for freedom of expression contained in Vietnam’s own constitution.”
Human Rights Watch, a group of Vietnamese activists and intellectuals along with the U.S. government have urged the Vietnamese government to reconsider its decision of putting Hang in a drug rehabilitation center.
(Cover Photo: AFP)