Implementing Human Rights as a Path to Democracy in Vietnam

December 11, 2014
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

The International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy
cordially invites you to a presentation entitled

Photo by Lucas Jans via


Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

with comments by

Zachary Abuza
Independent Scholar

moderated by

Carl Gershman
National Endowment for Democracy

About the Event

Thursday, December 11, 2014
3:00–4:30 p.m.

1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: 202-378-9675
RSVP here (acceptances only) with name and affiliation by Tuesday, Dec. 9


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About the Event

As Vietnam opens its economy and expands its multilateral partnerships, the Vietnamese government continues to look to the West for help in coping with its economic crisis and political problems. Even as Vietnam has made recent gains in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the partial lifting of the U.S. arms embargo, human rights violations at the hands of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) remain a cause for concern. Drawing on his experiences as a prominent human rights lawyer and political prisoner, Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu will discuss the CPV’s repressive laws and actions, offer a perspective on the current state of Vietnamese civil society, and outline recommendations for expanding freedom in Vietnam. He will argue for the urgency of implementing human rights laws and call for the democratization of Vietnam and greater East Asia. His presentation will be followed by comments by Dr. Zachary Abuza.

About the Speakers

Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu is a leading constitutional scholar and legal advocate who has written widely on civil and political rights in Vietnam. Through a law firm established with his wife Attorney Nguyen Thi Duong Ha, a well-known human rights defender in her own right, Dr. Vu has challenged the Communist Party of Vietnam’s monopoly on power and has encouraged citizens to stand up against the government’s unlawful and repressive acts. Most notable were his two lawsuits against Vietnam’s prime minister; his legal representation of disenfranchised communities and indigenous peoples; his articles on human rights, territorial sovereignty and integrity; and his proposed amendments to the Vietnamese constitution introducing a multiparty democratic system. For these activities, Dr. Vu was arrested in 2010 on trumped-up charges and sentenced in 2011 to seven years’ imprisonment and three years of house arrest. Released in 2014 in the face of mounting domestic and international pressure, he came directly from prison in Thanh Hoa, Vietnam to the United States, where he continues to speak out on issues of national and international concern. During his fellowship, Dr. Vu is assessing the state of Vietnam’s democracy movement and the vital importance of promoting human rights in the country.

Dr. Zachary Abuza is an independent scholar who formerly served as a professor of political science at the National War College and Simmons College, Boston.