A Change of Guard

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Monday, 10 October 2011

Vietnam cites London riots to defend rights record

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh
addresses the 66th General Assembly at the United
Nations in New York (Source and photo: AFP).

School of Vice's note: Roman Catholics are not the only religious minority experiencing persecutions levelled against them by the Vietnamese State. The indigenous Khmers of Kampuchea Krom (Southern Vietnam/Mekong Delta) have for centuries been discriminated and persecuted against by Vietnamese authorities for both their religious status and their ethnicity. From the time of imperial Vietnamese domination up to the colonial era and into the present day of the 21st century, the Vietnamese State has altered little as to its view and treatment of the Khmer Krom people, seeing them as rebellious and seditious by nature, and thus the only fitting remedy for this inclination would often involve terror measures as depicted in this "Master's Tea" incident (as sketched by Sacravatoons below); an historical and proverbial lesson that has retained its resonance even today within the context of the two neighbouring nations' marred relations.

NEW YORK (AFP--Sept 2011) - Vietnam's foreign minister pointed to Britain's response to August riots as he defended the human rights record of his government, which he said guaranteed fundamental freedoms.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, on a visit to New York for the UN General Assembly, said that Britain had raised concerns several years ago in a human rights dialogue about the communist nation's treatment of demonstrations.

"But look at the UK, all right?" Pham said at the Council on Foreign Relations. "If you had some security concern, you had to adopt some kind of measure. So that is normal."

"But we respect the human rights in all fields because we are members" of international conventions on human rights, he said.

Riots broke out in the London district of Tottenham on August 6 before spreading to other cities, leaving five people dead in Britain's worst unrest since the 1980s.

Pham was responding to a question about the use of force on religious practitioners in Vietnam. In a May 2010 incident that drew the attention of the US Congress, residents said authorities used deadly force to break up a religious procession in the Roman Catholic parish of Con Dau.

Vietnam said the incident was a land dispute. Pham defended Vietnam's record, saying: "Even I myself cannot get into church on Sunday or... Christmas Eve. It's very crowded."

"So I don't see any kind of discriminations against... religious practice in Vietnam," he said.

"Our policies (are) always focusing on the betterment of the living standard of the people, and also along with that is the rights of the people. So that is our commitment to that," he said.

Pham saluted warming relations with the United States but said that on human rights, "there is a different approach."

Despite the legacy of war, the United States and Vietnam have moved closer together at a time of high tension between Hanoi and Beijing.

The United States has repeatedly warned that Vietnam needs to improve its human rights record but has nonetheless moved ahead to expand cooperation, including in defense.


Anonymous said...

Vietnam failed to realize that Khmer Krom was the original land owner, therefore they should have special right but they were only asking for equal treatment and that is too much to ask.

Anonymous said...

The human rights records in Vietnam are alot worst than Cambodia in this communist state, yet America and its allies saw very little problems with that and allow their investors and businesses to have easy access to this former enemy of America just because Vietnam consider China as a threat. America has double-standard when dealing with Cambodia. Issues such as human rights, freedoms, etc. that seem lack-of in Cambodia are being use against the kingdom throught economic means. This is why Cambodia prefer to deal with China. At the same time, America instructed Cambodia to not be too close with China.