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WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and John Cornyn (R-TX) today introduced legislation to improve human rights in Vietnam. The Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2013, would establish measures to combat human rights abuses by the Vietnamese government.

“The Vietnamese government is increasingly persecuting its own citizens and failing to honor basic human rights. The heavy hands of this regime are to blame for some gross violations that include unlawful incarceration, human trafficking and torture. We have a moral obligation to stand up to this oppression and lead the charge for change and encourage a democratic environment free from tyranny and violence,” Boozman said.

“The Vietnamese government’s deeply troubling backsliding on political and religious freedoms and other human rights is and will remain an area of considerable concern to the United States,” said Cornyn. “The U.S. must make it clear that it will not continue to support or strengthen ties with a government that cruelly imprisons its own citizens and shows a blatant disregard for basic human rights.”

The bill prohibits any increase in non-humanitarian assistance to the Government of Vietnam above Fiscal Year 2012 levels unless the government makes substantial progress in establishing a democracy and promoting human rights, including freedom of religion and expression and releasing political and religious prisoners.

The Vietnamese Community of Arkansas showed its support for this legislation in a letter sent a letter to Boozman in September.

“The Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2013 is a much needed step in the right direction, to express to the Vietnamese government the United States' resolve to champion human rights, not only in Vietnam, but in all corners of the world,” Vinh Pham, President of the Vietnamese Community of Arkansas wrote. Click here to read the letter.

This legislation is identical to House-passed legislation overwhelmingly supported by members in August.

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