Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
STATEMENT, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Barb Solish, 202-226-8373/Barb.Solish@mail.house.gov
REP. SANCHEZ COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, CALLS ON SECRETARY KERRY TO ADDRESS VIETNAM ABUSES AHEAD OF TRIP
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, today released a statement highlighting human rights abuses in Vietnam in honor of International Human Rights Day. Rep. Sanchez and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) will also lead a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to encourage the Vietnamese government to improve its human rights record ahead of the Secretary’s trip to the nation later this month.
“On International Human Rights Day, we celebrate the adoption of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rededicate ourselves to the protection of fundamental human rights across the world. The current situation in Vietnam should weigh especially heavy on us today. The Vietnamese government continues to muzzle any government opposition by harassing, intimidating and indiscriminately arresting activists. Imprisoned activists are often subject to torture, held without access to legal counsel and kept from contacting their families. I am especially outraged about today’s police brutality against students, rights activists and members of the Network of Vietnamese bloggers.
“That is why Rep. Lofgren and I will ask Secretary Kerry to press this issue when he meets with the Vietnamese government later this month. The human rights abuses must be addressed before the United States enters into an economic partnership with Vietnam. I have not, do not and will not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership until Vietnam makes significant and tangible steps to improve its human rights record.
“Today, let us celebrate and honor the people of Vietnam who have committed their lives and sacrificed so much in their fight for freedom. We must continue to do our part by amplifying their voices, demanding a stop to the abuse and calling for the release of those so harshly imprisoned.”