Tags: Stress | Vietnam | Rights | Clinton | Told

Stress Vietnam Rights, Clinton Told

Friday, 10 November 2000 12:00 AM

It will be the first time a sitting American chief executive has paid a visit to the communist state that threw out the United States' military forces in the undeclared Vietnam War.

According to Reuters news service:

National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said Thursday that Clinton will encourage Hanoi to strengthen respect for rights and religious freedom during his Nov. 16-19 visit.

But human rights groups want him to do more than encourage freedom for the Vietnamese subjects of the communist regime. They want him to stand up and make a real issue of it.

The Washington-based Human Rights Watch told Clinton he needs to take "a more-energetic approach to human rights concerns in Vietnam'' and not focus mainly on a bilateral trade pact signed in July.

"This historic visit is a crucial moment for the United States to send a clear signal to Hanoi on how progress on human rights will affect other aspects of the evolving bilateral relationship," it said.

Human Rights Watch said that although Hanoi insists it holds no political prisoners, it nonetheless had stated in March that more than 100 persons are imprisoned for what Vietnam calls crimes against national security.

That figure, said Human Rights Watch, could very likely include political and religious prisoners.

A prominent Buddhist dissident put it even more pointedly to Clinton.

Thich Quang Do, who has spent much of the past two decades in detention or under restriction in Vietnam and is deputy head of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, wrote on Nov. 5 to Clinton that he faces a historic choice, and should speak out boldly.

"Either you support the regime, the all-powerful minority of the ruling Communist Party, and thus assist them in stifling democracy in Vietnam," he told Clinton, "or you support Vietnamese people in their quest for human rights and freedom and truly leave your mark on the history of mankind."

Do said that would give meaning to the 58,000 American servicemen who lost their lives in Vietnam.

"Whatever one's opinions may be about the rights and wrongs of the United States' policies during the Vietnam War," he wrote, "the sacrifice of these young Americans remains and can never be erased.

"It is in your hands, Mr. President, to give a meaning to their sacrifice today."

In Paris, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights praised Clinton's intention to visit the Catholic archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City as well as Protestants.

But it also urged him to meet with Do, or risk being "seriously misunderstood" as neglecting the majority Buddhist community.

Five U.S. senators, including Vietnam veterans John McCain and Charles Robb, have also urged Clinton to speak out strongly for human rights on this visit.

Hanoi has disparaged that as interference in its internal affairs.

In contrast, a group of U.S. non-government organizations working in Vietnam suggested to Clinton that he tread carefully on the rights issue and take the opportunity of his visit to acknowledge the suffering caused by U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
It will be the first time a sitting American chief executive has paid a visit to the communist state that threw out the United States' military forces in the undeclared Vietnam War. According to Reuters news service: National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said Thursday...
Stress,Vietnam,Rights,,Clinton,Told
503
2000-00-10
Friday, 10 November 2000 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved