Just weeks before possible consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the countries that signed the deal has demonstrated yet again its complete disregard for human rights.
Vietnam has just arrested a blogger — Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh — on charges of "spreading propaganda against the state."
Ms. Quynh could be imprisoned for up to 12 years. Why? She wrote a blog post criticizing her government's handling of a toxic chemical spill at a foreign-owned steel mill.
If this is what the Vietnamese government does when the TPP is pending and under a spotlight, imagine what would occur if the TPP were passed.
Urge your member of Congress to speak out for Ms. Quynh's freedom and publicly declare opposition to the TPP now.
Unfortunately, Ms. Quynh's arrest is not an isolated incident.
The U.S. State Department has documented Vietnam's human rights violations, including "arbitrary or unlawful killings" and "continued [efforts] to suppress political speech through arbitrary arrest, short-term detentions without charge and politically motivated convictions."
Human Rights Watch has described worsening human rights abuses in Vietnam: "Basic freedoms of expression, association, and assembly are extremely limited. The media and Internet are controlled and censored. The Vietnamese Communist Party controls all public institutions and uses them to maintain its hold on power."
The TPP's proponents claim that the deal will improve the human rights crisis.
But we've heard such platitudes about past trade agreements improving human rights — and then once a trade deal is passed, children, workers and activists languish without conditions improving.
Enough is enough: Tell your representative to speak out for human rights for Ms. Quynh and others, and to oppose the TPP today.
That Vietnam would make such a baseless and high-profile arrest right now — when countries are making their final appeals for the TPP — underscores that the TPP would not help Ms. Quynh or the many others enduring the violation of their basic freedoms.
We can do better. And we must.
We must stop the corporate-rigged TPP and ensure that Vietnam is not granted privileged access to the U.S. market, despite the country's jailing of political dissidents like Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh.
Urge your representative to side with human dignity and against the TPP.
Thanks for all you do.
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
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