Smith Reintroduces Vietnam Human Rights Act
This week, Rep. Chris Smith, Ranking Member of the global human rights subcommittee, reintroduced the Vietnam Human Rights Act (HR 1383) to punish human rights abuses in Vietnam and help prioritize religious freedom, internet freedom, and labor rights.
“It’s been a bad year for human rights in Vietnam. U.S. citizen Michael Nguyen, a father of four from Los Angeles, remains detained without due process and he was not the only American arrested and mistreated in Vietnam last year,” said Smith, who has chaired 11 hearings on human rights in Vietnam. “The Vietnamese regime continues its to efforts to crush civil society, suppress free speech and religion, and jail bloggers and rights advocates.”
Previous versions of Smith’s bipartisan bill passed the House three times by overwhelming margins, only to be stalled in the Senate.
“The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, whose partnership with Washington has been a key aspect of the Administration’s regional strategy, is a leader in human rights abuses in Asia,” Smith said.
“As the U.S.-Vietnam relationship grows, the Vietnamese government should not get a free pass on human rights,” said Smith. “The freedom of religion, freedom of the press, internet freedom, independent labor unions, the protection of women and girls from trafficking, and advances in the rule of law must be critical components of any U.S.-led effort to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region. H.R. 1383 will ensure that Hanoi understands that the U.S. will prioritize human rights in the relationship.”
Smith is the co-chair of the bipartisan Vietnam Human Rights Caucus. He introduced H.R. 1383 with Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the Caucus’ other two co-chairs.