According to the state-run media and other reliable sources, the police forces in Thuan Nam district in the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan on March 26 decided to prosecute 6 defendants, including Dương Văn Phước (52), Đỗ Văn Đức(62), Nguyễn Văn Song (66), Dương Thủ Đức (26), Dương Thủ Hiền (24) và Dương Thủ Dũng (23), all residing in Phuoc Dinh commune, on charge of conducting activities against state on-duty cadres. Phuoc and Duc received the order of temporary detention for three months, other four were banned from leaving the local and waiting for being investigated.
According to the police’ accusation, at 6.30 am on March 23, Mr. Phuoc and Mr. Duc used hand speakers to call on 300 residents in Son Hai 1 and Son Hai 2 villages to go on a titanium-zircon mining zone of Quang Thuan-Ninh Thuan One-member Co. Ltd in a bid to halt exploration operation and destroy processing facility of the company.
However, according to newspapers, over 700 residents of the two villages gathered several days earlier in front of Phuoc Dinh commune’s government building to protest the titanium mining of Quang Thuan-Ninh Thuan One-member Co. Ltd after the local People’s Committee on March 19 announced the company’s mining activities. They reportedly protested the mining because it pollutes environment and affects the local underground water, which is vital for local residents.
The FVPOC thinks that, similar to bauxite mining in the last few years which has severely affected the natural environment, human health and livelihood of local residents, the mining activities in some coastal provinces, including Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, have seriously polluted local environment. The local authorities have no responded or inadequately addressed to numerous lodged complaints of local resident against environmental pollution caused by mining activities.
We think that local residents have their rights to protest peacefully and denunciate the activities of mining companies and the inadequate responses of local government which are against their will.
The police’ prosecution and arrest of two local residents are two of many activities which go against the country’s law and violate human rights. It will trigger anger among local residents. Recently, a number of people have been beaten to death while they were detained in police stations, and many of these deaths were believed to be caused by police abuse.
The FVPOC protests the arrests of the two residents in Thuan Nam district, and considers the detentions as moves against human rights stipulated in Vietnam’s Constitution as well as in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Vietnam is a signatory party.
We call on residents in Thuan Nam district, who are directly affected by the titanium mining, and Vietnamese across the nation as well as international organizations in human rights and global environmental groups to protest the illegal detentions of Mr. Phuoc and Mr. Duc. The suspicious arrests are serving for protecting the interests of companies who are destroying environment in Thuan Nam district.
We demand the police forces in Thuan Nam district to revoke the prosecution and immediately release the detained people!
Vietnam, March 27, 2014
Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPOC)