Fight for internet freedom in Vietnam before UN

by | Jan 14, 2024 | Free Speech, Press Release, Privacy | 0 comments

Open Net made a joint submission with ARTICLE 19 and Legal Initiatives for Vietnam to the United Nations Human Rights Committee regarding its forthcoming review during the Committee’s 140th session, which will be held from 4 to 28 March 2024, where the Committee adopt the list of issues that they will examine Vietnam on in relation to compliance with the UN’s main human rights treaty, ICCPR or International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

This effort comes after Open Net issued a joint statement in August 2023 with 18 other digital rights organizations to push back agains the impending, newly amended Decree 72 that would have instituted mandatory identity verification which would have been used to track down dissident voices and thereby deterred the same, thereby shrinking civic space online.

Open Net, as a member of Global Network Initiative and sharing its board member with GNI, also worked with GNI who then issued an input document in September 2023 to push against the impending adoption of Decree 72 which, among other things, would have adopted the mandatory identity verification for users and administrative censorship, the issues that Open Net has worked on for many years in South Korea.

Now, the submission in January 2024 highlights other existing internet freedom issues. Viet Nam enforces restrictive provisions under Articles 109, 117, and 331 of the Penal Code, targeting political activism and dissent. The Cybersecurity Law of 2018 and Decree 53/2022/ND-CP violate freedom of speech and privacy rights, allowing government access to data without independent oversight such as the warrant process. Decree 13/2023/ND-CP broadens the scope of state surveillance and mandates data localization. Decree 72/2013/ND-CP (the current version) restricts websites from publishing original content, and Decree 15/2022/ND-CP imposes financial penalties for illegal online speech. You can read the submission below.

Open Net plans to work with Vietnamese civil society to lobby in the UN Human Rights Committee’s ICCPR process and the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review expected to take place on May 7, 2024 to highlight and push back on repressive laws.



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