VIOLATION of human rights is continuing in Vietnam despite recent reforms to the judicial process, a report released by Amnesty International claimed this week.
Amnesty's 70-page report comes as the British government attempts to persuade Vietnam to allow the resumption of the forced repatriation of boat people from Hong Kong. Francis Maude, minister of state at the Foreign Office, has been in Hanoi this week for talks with Vietnamese officials, offering to break the international embargo on aid to Vietnam in exchange for allowing the return of the refugees.
All cases of prisoners detained in Vietnam for "crimes against national security" must be reviewed as a matter of urgency, Amnesty believes. And the organisation calls on the Vietnamese authorities to release all prisoners of conscience unconditionally.
Amnesty claims that thousands are still being held in "re-education" camps in Vietnam for criminal offences that have never been brought to trial. Its report states that Vietnam itself admits to the continued imprisonment of 130 former government and military personnel held since the end of the war in 1975.
The report also highlights the case of 23 Catholics tried at the People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City in October 1987 on charges of "propaganda against the socialist system, disturbance of public security and terrorism". All were convicted, receiving long jail sentences, after a campaign in the official media had spoken of the "undeniable evidence" against them.