Today marks the International Human Rights Day. The European Union reaffirms that all human rights are to be realized world-wide, whether they are civil and political rights, or economic, social and cultural rights, and that there is no hierarchy of human rights.
The European Union is strongly committed to the protection of human rights defenders in Vietnam and across the world. The EU has noted a negative trend of prosecuting and sentencing of human rights activists and bloggers, in contravention with the country's obligations under its Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This includes the sentencing in November 2019 of 11 activists who peacefully expressed their opinions. The EU expects Vietnam to guarantee freedom of expression both online and offline, freedom of association and freedom of assembly, and to release bloggers and human right defenders arrested and sentenced for having peacefully expressed their views.
Moreover in November 2019 a Vietnamese court sentenced 11 people to death for drug trafficking. The European Union reiterates its strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The EU calls on Vietnam to introduce a moratorium as a first step towards full and legal abolition.
The EU and Vietnam enjoy strong cooperation across a wide range of areas, concerning political and security issues, global challenges, trade and development. Respect for human rights is a fundamental part of all EU relations with partner countries and international institutions.