Congressional Vietnam Caucus Raises Health, Environmental, and Human Rights Abuses in Letter to President
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a bipartisan letter to President Obama, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and members of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam raised their concerns regarding serious health, environmental, and human rights issues in recent weeks.
The letter addresses an ongoing environmental disaster "involving millions of dead fish washing ashore beginning in early April along the coastline […] devastating the economy in coastal cities and presenting a health hazard for the people of Vietnam."
The Members decry a sluggish and violent response by the Vietnamese Government, citing reports of government officials dispersing peaceful demonstrators "with tear gas, beatings, and mass detentions." Such a reaction casts doubt on the Vietnamese Government's willingness or ability to comply with the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
"The government's delayed reaction to a calamity of this magnitude does not bode well for the country's intent to comply with its obligations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And, more than a month after the disaster was first reported, the government has yet to release information about a cause."
The letter goes on to urge President Obama to raise these critical issues with the Vietnamese Government during his visit to the country, as well as call for the immediate and unconditional release of "more than 100 prisoners of conscience being detained by the government for exercising their right of expression or practicing their religion."
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