After the Vietnamese security agency arrested some people on chargesof “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of theState, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/orcitizens”, some bloggers and international organizations slanderedVietnam for applying regulations on national security which limit peoplein exercising civil and political rights, rights to freedom of speechand using internet. More ridiculously, they called on Vietnam tofree these violators.
Freedom in a broad sense andmore specifically freedom of speech and expression are the mostfundamental human rights. International legal documents including the1948 “Universal Declaration on Human Rights” and the 1966 “InternationalConvention on Civil and Political Rights” stated that respecting andensuring these rights is the prerequisite and motivation for thedevelopment of a society without discrimination of political regime anddevelopment levels. Vietnam , an active member of internationalconventions on human rights, has applied several international standardsto develop a system of legal documents on human rights. Article 69 ofthe 1992 Constitution states that citizens have the right to freedom ofspeech and press.
International law stipulates theneed to ensure the right to freedom of speech for citizens and thatindividual rights can be limited. The 1948 Universal Declaration onHuman Rights states that in the exercise of his rights and freedoms,everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined bylaw solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect forthe rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirementsof morality, public order and the general welfare in a democraticsociety”. The 1966 International Convention on Civil and PoliticalRights stipulates that “the exercise of the right to freedom of speechis accompanied by particular obligations and responsibilities. Socertain limitations are applied in respect of the rights and prestige ofothers and defending national security or public order”. Therefore, thestipulation of the right to freedom of speech in the 1992 Constitutionby the Vietnamese State is obviously constitutional. The 1999Criminal Code stipulates particular regulations on the right to freedomof speech in Article 88 and 258, which is completely in line withinternational practice. Therefore, when defending those, who have beenarrested according to Article 88 and 258 of the Vietnam Criminal Code,bloggers and international organisations including the Human RightsWatch and the Reporters Without Borders should be aware that thesepeople violated Vietnam law. The law strictly dealt with thesepeople on charges of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon theinterests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests oforganizations and/or citizens, but not of criticising the government orbeing the fighters for democracy, and human rights in Vietnam asthese organisations have slandered.
Internationalorganisations including the Human Rights Watch and the Reporters WithoutBorders have taken advantage of arrest according to Article 88 and 258of the Criminal Code to distort the reality of human rights and freedomof speech in Vietnam . These organisations need to make objectivestatements instead of upholding law violators who abused the democraticfreedoms to distort State policies, smearing the image of a developingVietnam under the cover of bloggers. It’s important to reiteratethat Vietnamese people’s civil and political rights and right tofreedom of speech and internet are ensured in the legal system and ineveryday practice. The right to freedom of speech is inseparable fromthe citizens’ obligation. Everyone in Vietnam as well as in othercountries have to obey the Constitution and law. No organisation and/orindividuals outside the legal system. This is what all nations includingVietnam need to implement to ensure the rule of law, including thelaw on human rights.-VNA
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