UN Watchdog Blasts Vietnam Over Repression, Abuses
Mar 30, 2019AthleticComments Off on UN Watchdog Blasts Vietnam Over Repression, Abuses
GENEVA A U.N. watchdog group condemns what it says is Vietnam's repression of basic freedoms and gross violations of human rights, including torture and executions for crimes that breech international law.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has examined the records of six countries, including Vietnam during its latest session.
The committee had fulsome praise for the country's economic achievements, but many criticisms regarding what it sees as an abusive system of governance. Also, it is worried by an apparent dramatic increase in crackdowns against human rights defenders
Committee member Marcia Kran said human rights defenders are harassed, attacked, and held incommunicado in pre-trial detention. She said some have received lengthy prison sentences on bogus charges, and some have been ill-treated in custody as well.
Another area of concern is the reportedly high number of death sentences and executions in Vietnam. The Committee has received reports that 85 people had been executed last year. Kran noted crimes against the state, drug-related crimes, economic and other crimes are punishable by death.
So, the situation is that the number and the identities of persons sentenced to death are kept secret by the authorities, which means that it is possible for dissidents to be targeted and sentenced to death without due process. Others have died in custody and we heard reports that these deaths are then reported by officials as suicide, Kran said.
The panel of human rights experts is calling for a moratorium on the application of capital punishment or an abolition of the death penalty.
The committee found the Vietnamese government is making progress in passing new legislation. Kran told VOA a number of laws have been passed that appear to be protective of human rights.
There is a new law on trafficking that prohibits forced labor. There is, in fact in 2017, there was an amendment to the law on legal aid. So, it expanded the list of persons who could access legal aid. There are also amendments to the penal code and the criminal procedure code on the right to counsel at all stages of criminal proceedings.
Kran said the legal framework shows some signs of improvement on paper. Unfortunately, she noted these laws are not being applied in practice.
Comments Off on Taipei-Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau is promoting mountain tourism at the 4-day Taipei International Travel Fair that began Friday.
The bureau is focusing on five north-south mountain ranges — the Central Mountain, Xueshan, Yushan, Alishan and the Coastal Mountain ranges — in its pavilion at the fair, said bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Shi-chung (???).
Chang said there will be various exhibitions and forums on the mountains of Taiwan, as well as its unique cultural features such as historic trails and aboriginal lifestyles.
Taiwan is preparing to market 2020 as the Year of Mountain Tourism, after its efforts to position the country as an important international mountaineering destination in July, when the government allowed public access to the island’s national parks.
Previously, people who wanted to visit restricted “ecological protected areas” in Taiwan’s national parks had to apply for permits from both the National Police Agency and the Construction and Planning Agency.
Now, however, the Construction and Planning Agency has launched a new mountain permit application portal that requires mountain visitors to apply for only one permit and provides fast-track processing to expedite applications, the bureau said.
Much of Taiwan is covered by mountains, and it has 268 mountains of over 3,000 meters, according to the Tourism Bureau website.
That environment has made hiking and mountain climbing one of the favorite pastimes of Taiwan residents.
The number of permits issued to Taiwanese citizens and foreign nationals for access to trails in Yushan, Taroko and Shei Pa national parks has risen from 153,736 in 2016 to 187,053 in 2017 and 201,526 in 2018, according to Construction and Planning Agency figures.
In 2018, foreign nationals accounted for 7.24 percent of the permits issued.
There will be around 1,700 booths from 60 countries at the fair, to be held Nov. 8-11 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center.
The fair, the largest of its kind in Taiwan, will feature South Korean and Japanese tourism operators amid growing local interest in travel to those countries.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel