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Human Rights Group Accuses Vietnam of Abducting Blogger from Thailand

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Human Rights Group Accuses Vietnam of Abducting Blogger from Thailand

Human Rights Watch on Friday accused Vietnam of abducting a blogger critical of the communist regime who had UN refugee status and was seeking safety in Thailand. Thai Van Duong, arrived Thailand in 2019 to avoid Vietnamese authorities vanished this week.

According to Vietnamese state media, the 41-year-old is now incarcerated in Vietnam after being arrested on April 14 for “illegally entering” the nation through an irregular border crossing near Laos.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia section, asked that Thai authorities conduct an investigation.

“State agents of Vietnam abducted UNHCR-recognized refugee Thai Van Duong off the street near his residence in Pathum Thani province, just outside of Bangkok,” Robertson said at a Bangkok discussion.

Thai Van Duong’s friend Grace Bui, a former advocacy officer at The 88 Project, a non-profit organisation that advocates freedom of expression in Vietnam, stated that he “would never have voluntarily returned to Vietnam.”

Thai Van Duong often posted YouTube live-streams criticizing and accusing Vietnam’s authoritarian government of corruption.

Vietnam

According to state media, he managed a Facebook group that disseminated “distorted information” on the private lives of Vietnamese politicians.

Ms. Bui recounted receiving a phone call on April 13 informing her that Duong had gone missing. Witnesses later told her that two white sedan automobiles, one in front and one behind, had blocked his motorcycle.

“”They arrived during Songkran, when everyone was on vacation, and all the stores were closed,” she explained, adding that Duong had informed her numerous times since 2021 that he felt threatened.

Bui told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that she and her companions visited Thai’s home on Monday.

“Inside his room, everything appears normal, as if Duong had just gotten up and gone for a quick walk,” she stated. “We discovered the bag he frequently carried when going out.” His wallet was still in the bag, and so were his UN card and bank cards. We also discovered his laptop.”

The UN card is a refugee identification card issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Bangkok to those who have refugee status and are awaiting resettlement in a third country.

Thai police stated that they had called Vietnamese authorities but had received no response. The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not reply quickly to a request for comment.

The case comes after a German court jailed a Vietnamese man to nearly four years in prison in 2018 for his role in a brazen Cold War-style kidnapping of an oil executive from a Berlin park ordered by Hanoi. In reaction, the German government expelled two Vietnamese ambassadors.

Vietnam

Vietnam’s Human Rights

Human rights organizations have raised concerns about Vietnam’s record on human rights, including cases of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and restrictions on freedom of expression and association.

According to reports from organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, there have been cases where individuals have been targeted by the Vietnamese government for their political or social activism, and have been subjected to various forms of harassment and persecution, including forced disappearances.

It is important for governments to uphold the human rights of their citizens and respect their freedom of expression and association. If you or someone you know is experiencing human rights abuses, you may want to consider reaching out to a local or international human rights organization for support and guidance.

UN Refugee CardUN Refugee Card

A refugee card issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a document that provides evidence of a person’s status as a refugee. It is issued to individuals who have fled their home country due to persecution, war, or violence, and who have been recognized as refugees by the UNHCR.

The refugee card contains important information such as the individual’s name, photograph, country of origin, and date of birth. It also includes the date the card was issued and the expiration date. The card serves as proof of the individual’s refugee status and may be used to access services such as education, healthcare, and employment.

It’s important to note that the issuance of a refugee card does not guarantee protection or a permanent solution for the individual’s situation. It is intended to provide temporary protection and assistance until a durable solution can be found, such as resettlement in a third country or voluntary return to their home country.

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