Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||13 January 2004|
|Victim:||Nguyen Dan Que|
|Subject:||Dr. Nguyen Dan Que Requires Medical Care|
|Issues:||Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; Freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Freedom of opinion and expression; Right to medical treatment while in detention|
|Type of alert:||Update|
|Related alerts:||4 March 1997; 12 August 1997; 12 May 1998; 5 October 1998; 19 March 2003; 10 August 2004; 14 February 2005|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Vietnamese dissident Dr. Nguyen Dan Que requires medical care for several life-threatening conditions. Dr. Nguyen Dan Que is a high-profile human rights and democracy advocate. Out of a group of dissidents currently being jailed in Vietnam, he is believed to be the only one held incommunicado. There is serious concern for his safety. He suffers from high blood pressure, a bleeding peptic ulcer, and kidney stones. According to reports, his family has provided the necessary medicine to the detention center, but it is unclear if the medicine is reaching him.
Dr. Nguyen Dan Que has been arrested three times and has spent a total of eighteen years in jail for his advocating for political reform in Vietnam. He was first arrested in 1978 for criticizing the government and spent ten years in prison without a trial. He was re-arrested in 1990 after organizing a pro-democracy organization. He was released eight years later under provisions of a special amnesty. He was re-arrested again in March 2003 as he was leaving his house in Ho Chi Minh City. The arrest came four days after Dr. Nguyen Dan Que issued a statement about the lack of freedom of information in Vietnam. According to the official media, he is accused of espionage, but it is unclear if he has been formally charged.
Dr. Nguyen Dan Que is an endocrinologist and former Director of the Cho-Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. His political advocacy is related to his scientific work; he was fired from his position at the hospital and detained after he criticized the national health care policy. His arrests have only served to strengthen his commitment to fundamental freedoms and democracy for his country. In 1996, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program honored Dr. Nguyen Dan Que at its annual reception at the AAAS Annual Meeting.
(Source of information for this case is Amnesty International.)
RELEVANT HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Article 19(1): Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
- Article 9(1): Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
- Article 9(2): Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his [or her] arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him [or her].
- Article 9(3): Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.
UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
- Article 22(2): Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 09: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Please send faxes, letters, or emails:
- Requesting that Dr. Nguyen Dan Que be granted full access to his family and lawyer;
- Expressing you concern that Dr. Nguyen Dan Que may not have access to the medical care he requires while in detention; and
- Requesting that if legitimate charges cannot be made against Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, he be immediately and unconditionally released.
APPEAL AND INQUIRY MESSAGES SHOULD BE SENT TO:
His Excellency Tran Duc Luong
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Fax: (011) 84-4-823-1872 or 84-4-844-5905
Salutation: Your Excellency:
Mr. Nguyen Dy Nien
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Str.1'
Ba Dinh Dist.
Fax: (011) 84-4-844-5905
Salutation: Dear Mr. Minister:
Mr. Nguyen Dinh Loc
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
25A Cat Linh Str.
Ba Dinh Dist.
Fax: (011) 84-4-843-1431
Salutation: Dear Mr. Minister:
COPIES SENT TO:
Ambassador Nguyen Tam Chien
Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States
Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1233 20th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20037
Fax: (202) 861-0917
Salutation: Dear Mr. Ambassasor
Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive, or direct any questions you may have to Victoria Baxter, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20005; tel. 202-326-6797; email email@example.com; or fax 202-289-4950.
The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful, accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation is always helpful.
To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of the posting unless an update has been issued.