Text: H.Con.Res.378 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (05/13/2004)

[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 378 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  2d Session
H. CON. RES. 378



                              May 13, 2004

      Received and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION


   Calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to 
immediately and unconditionally release Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, 
                        and for other purposes.

Whereas in February 2001, Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Roman Catholic priest 
        was formally invited to testify before the United States Commission on 
        International Religious Freedom but was denied permission to leave the 
        Socialist Republic of Vietnam and thus, instead, submitted written 
        testimony critical of Vietnam which 

was read into the Commission record on February 13, 2001;

Whereas Father Ly's testimony before the Commission documents numerous specific 
        actions of the Government of Vietnam against religious freedom which he 
        classified as collectively being ``extremely cruel'' and requiring a 
        ``non-violent and persistent campaign'' to achieve full religious 
        freedom for all people in Vietnam;
Whereas Father Ly has been detained by the Government of Vietnam since February 
        2001, when it placed Father Ly under administrative detention--as a 
        direct response to his testimony, branding him a traitor for 
        ``slandering'' the Communist party and ``distorting'' the religious 
        policy of the Government of Vietnam;
Whereas the Government of Vietnam issued a second decree suspending Father Ly's 
        ability to ``carry on any religious responsibility and functions'' and 
        later formally removed Father Ly from his church, detained him, and 
        denied him access to adequate legal counsel;
Whereas on October 19, 2001, the Thua Thien Hue Provincial People's Court 
        convicted Father Ly of all charges after a one day, closed trial, 
        without the benefit of counsel and sentenced him to two years in prison 
        for violating the terms of his administrative detention, thirteen years 
        in prison for ``damaging the Government's unity policy'', and 5 years of 
        administrative probation upon release from prison;
Whereas after pleas from United States Government officials and the world 
        community Father Ly's sentence was reduced by 5 years;
Whereas in June 2001, Father Ly's nephews Nguyen Vu Viet, age 27, and Nguyen 
        Truc Cuong, age 36, and his niece Nguyen Thi Hoa, age 44, were arrested 
        for allegedly being in contact and receiving support from organizations 
        in the United States concerning the religious situation in Vietnam and 
        disseminating information concerning the detention of Father Ly;
Whereas after their cases generated much concern in Congress, Nguyen Thi Hoa, 
        Nguyen Vu Viet and Nguyen Truc Cuong all have been or are expected to be 
        released shortly;
Whereas on November 27, 2003, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary 
        Detention issued Opinion No. 20/2003 stating ``the Group is convinced 
        that [Father Ly] has been arrested and detained only for his opinions . 
        . . [and] the deprivation of the liberty of Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van 
        Ly is arbitrary, as being in contravention of Article 19 of the 
        Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of Article 19 of the 
        International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights'';
Whereas Father Ly has been deprived of his basic human rights by being denied 
        his ability to exercise freedom of opinion and expression;
Whereas the arbitrary imprisonment and the violation of the human rights of 
        citizens of Vietnam are sources of continuing, grave concern to 
Whereas continuing concerns regarding human rights in Vietnam were recently 
        highlighted by large demonstrations in the Central Highlands on April 10 
        and 11, 2004, in which thousands of Montagnards gathered on Easter 
        weekend to protest their treatment by the Government of Vietnam, 
        including the confiscation of tribal lands and ongoing restrictions on 
        religious activities; and
Whereas although the Government of Vietnam has attempted to control information 
        about the April 2004 protests and access to the Central Highlands, 
        reputable human rights organizations have reported that the protests 
        were met with a violent response and that many demonstrators were 
        arrested, injured, or are in hiding, and that others were killed: Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
            (1) Congress--
                    (A) condemns and deplores the arbitrary detention 
                of Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly by the Government of 
                the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and calls for his 
                immediate and unconditional release;
                    (B) condemns and deplores the violations of freedom 
                of speech, religion, movement, association, and the 
                lack of due process afforded to individuals in Vietnam;
                    (C) strongly urges the Government of Vietnam to 
                consider the implications of its actions for the 
                broader relationship between the United States and the 
                Socialist Republic of Vietnam, including the impact on 
                trade relations;
                    (D) urges the Government of Vietnam to allow 
                unfettered access to the Central Highlands by foreign 
                diplomats, the international press, and nongovernmental 
                organizations; and
                    (E) condemns the extent of the violence used 
                against Montagnard protesters on April 10 and 11, 2004, 
                and the use of any violence against peaceful protests 
                and demonstrations; and
            (2) it is the sense of Congress that the United States--
                    (A) should make the immediate release of Father Ly 
                a top concern;
                    (B) should continue to urge the Government of 
                Vietnam to comply with internationally recognized 
                standards for basic freedoms and human rights;
                    (C) should make it clear to the Government of 
                Vietnam that the detention of Father Ly and other 
                persons and the infliction of human rights violations 
                on these individuals are not in the interest of Vietnam 
                because they create obstacles to improved bilateral 
                relations and cooperation with the United States; and
                    (D) should reiterate the deep concern of the United 
                States regarding the continued imprisonment of Father 
                Ly, and other persons whose human rights are being 
                violated, and discuss their legal status and immediate 
                humanitarian needs with the Government of Vietnam.

            Passed the House of Representatives May 12, 2004.


                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,