US Decision to Lift Ban on Lethal Arms Sales to Vietnam ‘Mistake’: HRW

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – Human Rights Watch has criticized the US government for lifting a ban on lethal arms sales and transfers to Vietnam, a country notorious for its poor human rights records, a statement published on the organization’s website read.

“The United States government made a mistake this month in relaxing a ban on lethal arms sales and transfers to Vietnam — a non-democratic, one-party state with an abysmal human rights record,” the statement published Wednesday evening read.

In the statement, the organization called on US authorities to investigate the detention of over 150 activists before claiming that Vietnam had shown progress in its tackling of human rights and signing the arms sales deal early this October.

“If Vietnam is really serious about reining in persecution of peaceful critics, then why did its courts convict three activists in August [Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, and Nguyen Van Minh] for “obstructing traffic” during a protest and sentence them to three years in prison? Why did the government arrest the prominent blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh [Anh Ba Sam] in May? Why did Vietnam convict the blogger Pham Viet Dao in March?” the statement continued.

Even though the deal has already been concluded, the organization is appealing to the US government to take a more serious stance on the human rights situation in Vietnam.

On October 2, amid a visit by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh to the United States, Washington declared that it was easing a ban on lethal arms sales to Vietnam that had been in force for a decade.