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Report slams Vietnam's labor rights record

Report slams Vietnam's labor rights record

A human rights group slammed Vietnam's record on workers' rights Monday, accusing the communist government of trying to eliminate independent labor unions and calling for the release of labor activists.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said at least eight activists have been arrested since 2006 in Vietnam's crackdown on independent trade unions, and urged the government to release five who are still detained.
All officially sanctioned labor unions in Vietnam are controlled by the communist party, which has courted foreign investors eager to take advantage of the country's low-wage labor. Any strikes by unofficial unions are illegal.
"By arresting the most prominent labor leaders, the Vietnamese government is trying to wipe out the independent trade union movement," Brad Adams, the group's Asia director, said in a report published Monday. "The government continues to target and harass independent labor activists, who are seen as a particular threat to the communist party because of their ability to attract and organize large numbers of people."
Vietnam's government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A series of illegal strikes have hit factories across Vietnam over the last several years as wages have failed to keep pace with rising prices. Inflation peaked at 28.3 percent last August and averaged 23 percent in 2008.
The report notes that many of the arrested labor leaders have also been active in pro-democracy groups banned by the government, which strictly prohibits dissent. They have also been supported by overseas Vietnamese groups opposed to the government.
Several have been charged with national security offenses, including "conducting propaganda against the state" and "abusing democratic freedoms."
The activists formed two independent trade unions in 2006, when Vietnam was seeking entrance into the World Trade Organization and restrictions on free expression were briefly eased.
Three activists remain in prison, at least two are under administrative probation or house arrest, and another three "have been subjected to a series of detentions and interrogation by police, intrusive surveillance, and harassment by vigilantes," the report said.


Updated : 2021-04-14 22:58 GMT+08:00