June 7th, 2018
June 7th, 2018
“Like many members of the Vietnamese community in Canada, I was surprised to learn that Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc was invited to speak about ocean protection at the G7 meeting on June 9th. His presence is an opportunity for our own Prime Minister to raise Canada’s concerns regarding human rights and environment protections in Vietnam.
In 2016, the Vietnamese people witnessed the greatest ecological disaster in their history, when the Formosa steel plant discharged toxic industrial waste into the ocean, destroying the entire marine ecosystem along Central Vietnam’s 250 km Pacific coastline, where 100 tonnes of fish carcasses washed up onshore.
The manner in which M. Nguyên Xuân Phuc’s government managed this disaster was fiercely opposed in Vietnam. Instead of assisting the populations impacted by the disaster, the Vietnamese government severely repressed public protesters and allowed the steel plant to continue its polluting activities. Many environmentalists and human rights activists received lengthy jail sentences, including bloggers, who denounced the problem online. A notable example is Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, also known as Mother Mushroom. She began a hunger strike last Friday to denounce abuses against her.
The Canadian government must put pressure on the Vietnamese Prime Minister, to liberate these jailed activists like Mother Mushroom, instead of offering him a spot on the international stage, and to actively commit to protecting our oceans.”