The United Nations Office for Human Rights denounces the suppression of environmental activists in Vietnam.
Hoang Thi Minh Hong, a renowned environmental advocate and ex-employee of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), was given a three-year prison sentence and a $4,100 fine on Thursday for her involvement in tax evasion.
She was only on trial for three hours, and her family and defense counsel had limited access while she was detained.
Additionally, independent human rights experts believe that the accusations against her may have been driven by political motives.
She is now the fifth out of six environmental activists to be arrested and convicted since 2021.
“According to spokesperson Jeremy Laurence, four additional advocates for environmental rights have faced prosecution and received sentences of up to five years in jail. This appears to be part of a larger effort to suppress environmental defenders and limit civic activities in Vietnam.”
The accusations against the last remaining person have not yet been disclosed to the public.
‘A chilling effect’
OHCHR stated that the arrests should be considered in the context of Viet Nam’s Just Energy Transition Partnership.
According to recent reports, an international partnership has been established to aid developing countries in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Viet Nam has launched its Secretariat in July to participate in this collaboration.
The office restated the importance of giving human rights defenders and environmental organizations the liberty to actively participate in shaping policies and decision-making in order to successfully transition to environmentally sustainable green energy.
According to Mr. Lawrence, the enforcement of strict laws and the unfair targeting of environmental activists is causing a negative impact on their crucial efforts. This is also affecting the work of other human rights defenders in Vietnam.
I request for immediate and unconditional release of.
He urged the Government to avoid using criminal charges to limit the practice of basic rights and to unconditionally release all individuals who have been arrested in such instances.
We would like to emphasize that it is the duty of the authorities to adhere to international laws that protect the principles of justice, fair trial, and independence of the judiciary.