North Korea and Vietnam update

21st JUNE 06

A Matter of Survival: The North Korean Government’s Control of Food and the Risk of Hunger

Human Rights Watch Report, May 4th 2006

This recent report by Human Rights Watch details the DPRK government’s decision to return to the banning of private grain sales, reimplementation of the catastrophic state food distribution system and the new suspension of the World Food Programme’s operations in the country.   

Report description:


New North Korean refugee in US repeatedly sold into marriage and jailed

19th May 2006

21 year old North Korean woman sold into marriage in China and jailed in North Korea before finding refuge.

Greater numbers of North Korean refugees heading to Europe

28th February 2006

Refugees currently in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Denmark: however the UK declines most North Korean applications. The UK allowed entry to up to 13 last year, while the US plans to allow up to 200 in 2006.

Global Week of Prayer for North Korea:
19th – 25th June 2006

Christian Solidarity Worldwide and its partners have organised this week as the Global Week of Prayer for North Korea.

British MPs and Lords call for new UN Human Rights Council to act on North Korea

June 19th 2006

Ten members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords have called upon the UN’s new Human Rights Council to ‘do everything within its power to find an effective way to protect the rights of the citizens of North Korea’.

UN Calls on North Korea to suspend execution

June 1st 2006

Son Jong Nam ‘practically dead from torture’, due for public execution.

21st JUNE 2006

Vietnam harassing members of fledgling human rights movement

May 11th 2006

Before the 10th National Congress of Vietnam’s Communist Party in April, hundreds of Vietnamese signed these two documents:

The 2006 Manifesto on Freedom and Democracy in Vietnam


Appeal for Freedom of Political Association

The authorities have responded with the arrests and interrogations of a number of the leading activists in this courageous new movement.

HRW report on these events:

A number of activists have responded to the government crackdown by launching an underground newspaper, Tu Do Ngon Luan, or Free Expression, which has published two editions since April. They have also formed the Free Journalists’ Association of Vietnam. 

Free Expression (in Vietnamese)

Vietnam tightens state censorship

June 18th, 2006

In response to these developments, the Vietnamese government this week tightened state censorship, issuing strict new regulations and the crimes of ‘denying revolutionary achievements’ and ‘defaming national heroes’, although the decree did not make clear who these are. ‘The people’s right to be informed must be clearly regulated’, said PM Phan Van Khai.

Montagnards facing religious and political persecution

June 15th 2006

Vietnam’s highland ethnic minorities, or Montagnards, especially Christians and those refugees returning from Cambodia, are facing persecution from Vietnamese authorities, including torture, says a new report from Human Rights Watch.

50th Anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s ‘Land Reform’ terror

Remembering the terror of 1956 against the ‘landlord class’, in which hundreds of thousands died.

Violent raid on Mennonite Church in HCMC (Saigon)

May 26th 2006

50 security officers raid southern church over building permit, some badly injured

Meanwhile, one of six Mennonite prisoners being held is released

Vietnam considers reduction of number of crimes punishable by death

June 2006

Vietnam’s Ministry of Police has sent a proposal to reduce the number of crimes punishable by death to the Central Judicial Reform Commission. The offences to be dropped would be mainly economic ones such as fraud, embezzlement, bribery and counterfeiting.