Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai
All national constitutions recognize the political rights of the citizens. And every citizen has the right to use his/her human rights to oppose the ruling party and government as long as they do it peacefully and in non-violent ways whenever they are unhappy with the leadership of the ruling party and government. Or when they see their rights and interests as well as the national interests being violated by the authorities.
Why is it so?
When citizens use their political rights like the freedom of opinion, the freedom of the press, the freedom of association and organization, or the freedom to demonstrate in favor of the ruling party and government, then no ruling party or government would ever seek to punish them. Thus there is no need to stipulate political human rights in the Constitution and in the laws to protect citizens who are in favor of the government and the ruling party. And the United Nations also sees no need to spell out these rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights so as to force its member countries to respect and protect.
But in every country there are always groups of citizens who sometimes are in the minority but at other times are even the majority who are unhappy with the social realities such as corruption, deteriorated morals, environmental pollution, and land expropriation… Or they may not be happy with the behavior or policies of the government and ruling party in regard to the protection of the national sovereignty… And when they reach the limits of their endurance, the citizens have the right to use their freedom of opinion, their freedom of the press to judge and criticize the government and ruling party. The citizens have the right to call for a change in government and in the ruling party. When necessary, the citizens can use their rights to assemble and form associations or demonstrate in favor of a change in government and ruling party. That is why political human rights such as the freedom of opinion, the freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble and to organize themselves, and the freedom of demonstration must necessarily be stipulated in the Constitution of every country and be protected by the United Nations through its International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
For that reason, the stipulation of political human rights such as the freedom of opinion, the freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble and organize themselves, and the freedom of demonstration in the Constitution is meant to protect the citizens when they make use of those rights to fight against the ruling party and government through peaceful, non-violent ways.
Article 69 of the 1992 Constitution of Vietnam stipulates that “Citizens have freedom of opinion, the freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble and organize themselves, the freedom to demonstrate.” The 1992 Constitution of Vietnam was drafted and passed by the National Assembly under the leadership of the Communist Party. Thus, it is patently clear that the National Assembly and the Communist Party have given to every citizen the right to use those political human rights to support or fight against the Communist Party and government of Vietnam when necessary. The Communist Party and the government have recognized the people of Vietnam’s right to use these political human rights to fight against the Communist Party and government itself through peaceful and non-violent ways.
In past years, there have been hundreds of citizens representative of the voice and aspirations of millions of other citizens, who have used their political rights such as the freedom of opinion, the freedom of the press to comment on and criticize the mistakes and shortcomings in the Communist Party and government’s management and running of the country. They also used the same rights to demand political reform from a totalitarian one-party state to a multi-party and democratic one. Many other citizens have also made use of their political rights such as the right of assembly and organization, of the right to demonstrate to participate and build organizations and political parties in accordance with the aim of democratization of the country, of restoring power to the people.
It’s truly paradoxical that instead of respecting the citizens’ rights the Communist Party and government resorted to the instruments of totalitarianism such as the security police, the procuracy and the courts to arrest and detain, try and jail hundreds of the best citizens of Vietnam.
On 16 May 2013, two brilliant students, Phuong Uyen and Nguyen Kha, will be tried at a court of first instance in Long An. They are charged in accordance with Article 88 of the Penal code, an anticonstitutional article in a code that is full of anticonstitutional stipulations. According to the indictment of the Long An procurate office which has been seen on the Internet, Phuong Uyen and Nguyen Kha have carried out such things as as: drawing slogans, flags and pictures, and glueing money to fliers and leaflets with such contents as “Fight for Freedom and Human Rights,” criticizing the Communist Party’s policy on religion, being against the Communist Party, and calling for demonstrations against China, etc. After they hanged the slogans and flags and pictures as well as distributing their leaflets, they took pictures and sent them on Facebook in the Internet.
The purpose, content and actions of Phuong Uyen and Nguyen Kha are perfectly moderate and non-violent, in accordance with the political human rights which are recognized in the constitution and spelled out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The purpose, content and actions of Phuong Uyen and Nguyen Kha are constitutionally sanctioned and therefore legal.
For that reason, in proceeding with the arrest and detention, prosecution and trial of the students Phuong Uyen and Nguyen Kha, the judiciary organs of the Communist Party are engaged in violating the Constitution of Vietnam and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The citizens of Vietnam who use their political human rights are constitutionally protected to fight the Communist Party and government as long as they are peaceful and non-violent: these are RIGHTS, they are not crimes.