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May 9 is Vietnam Human Rights Day, when we draw attention to the ongoing lack of basic freedoms in Vietnam.  Although Vietnam has made considerable economic progress, the government continues to deny civil liberties and political freedoms to the population.


This year’s U.S. State Department Report on Human Rights describes Vietnam as an “authoritarian state,” noting that “the most significant human rights problems in the country continued to be severe government restrictions on citizens’ political rights, particularly their right to change their government; increased measures to limit citizens’ civil liberties; and corruption in the judicial system and police.”


Freedom House ranks Vietnam as “not free,” earning the lowest possible score of 7 for political rights and a 5 for civil liberties.


The Freedom Collection interviewed Doan Viet Hoat, a writer, scholar and former prisoner of conscience from Vietnam.  In his interview, he discusses the harsh conditions he experienced during his years as a political prisoner and the importance of outside support.  Doan Viet Hoat reminds us that for a dissident in an authoritarian country, the attention of the international community is vital to promote reform and protect lives.


Watch his Freedom Collection interview here.


Lindsay Lloyd is Program Director Freedom Collection