European Parliamentarians ignored concerns for violation of human rights and overwhelmingly approved a new trade agreement with Communist Vietnam, that will eliminate nearly all tariffs over ten years.
European lawmakers influenced by the positive recommendation of the influential parliamentary trade committee backed the trade deal with 401 votes. 193 deputies opposed, and 40 abstained.
"We have just betrayed human rights defenders in Vietnam", stated Ms Clare Daly, independent Member of EU Parliament from Ireland.
Nearly 20 Non-Governmental Organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders and Vietnamese Professionals Society, asked EU Parliamentarians to postpone the signing of the agreement until the Communist country complies to the basic human rights.
Vietnam does not share the values of the European Union and openly disregards any rights of a human person. The privileged families have been usurping their rights to the country's wealth. Vietnamese human rights defenders stated about the members of the privileged families who eventually are escaping country purchasing residences and citizenship in the democratic countries as the United States, Canada or Australia. They are a threat to these democracies, the human rights defenders warned.
Arrest of Vietnamese environmental activist and filmmaker Thinh Nguyen
by Communist secret police in Hanoi on Oct. 25, 2019.
"In recent years the Vietnamese government has intensified its crackdown on human rights defenders, members of civil society, religious groups and individuals who express opinions deemed critical of the government or otherwise disfavoured," the authors of the NGOs letter to the EU Parliament emphasised.
"We are very concerned about political prisoners and have stressed to the Vietnamese authorities the importance of human rights,” Geert Bourgeois, the lawmaker in charge of steering the agreements through Parliament stated.
But it may be too late for any sorrow or concern since EU lost the most important leverage over the tyrannical regime, the leaders of the human rights organisations stated.
Earlier the NGOs' leaders said that if European Parliamentarians voted to consent to the agreements they would be sending a message to Hanoi that they are not serious in their calls for human rights improvement.
The EU hopes the deals will result in 15 billion euros ($16.5 billion) a year in additional exports from Vietnam to the continent by 2035, with EU exports to Vietnam expanding by more than eight billion euros to an annual level around 22 billion euros.
Vietnam mainly exports telecommunications equipment, food and clothing to Europe, while the EU’s list of exports to the southeast Asian nation includes machinery, transport equipment, chemicals and agricultural goods.
On February 2, 2020, 143 political opponents, including journalists, bloggers, and activists, served long-term prison terms.