Rights Group Urges Japan To Stop Financial Aid To Vietnam Police Over Rights Breaches

Rights Group Urges Japan to Stop Financial Aid to Vietnam Police Over Rights Breaches

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 30th October, 2020) A prominent watchdog on Friday called on the Japanese government to immediately halt plans on providing financial assistance to the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security (MPS), accusing it of committing grave human rights violations.

Earlier in October, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said it would allocate 300 million Yen ($2.84 million) in grant to MPS so that it can purchase unspecified equipment to combat terrorism and maintain public order in Vietnam.

"The Japanese government should not give a single yen to Vietnam's Public Security Ministry, which is a notorious violator of human rights with a long track record of torturing criminal suspects and human rights defenders," Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a press release.

According to the HRW official, providing Vietnam with special equipment under the guise of counter terrorism and public order will only contribute to police brutally suppressing peaceful protests.

The rights group added that in response to its request about the type of equipment Hanoi will purchase with Japan's funds, Tokyo responded that it would be determined in coordination with the Vietnamese government going forward.

"Rather than granting assistance, Japan should publicly and privately call on the Vietnamese government to carry out major institutional reforms in the Public Security Ministry.

These reforms should include establishing an independent police complaints commission to accept complaints from the public and to provide oversight of the internal affairs and professional responsibility units of the police," the HRW press release said.

According to the watchdog, over the past several decades, the Vietnamese police, which operate under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Security, with near impunity have beaten, tortured, and otherwise ill-treated people in custody. In addition, police officers are involved in the suppression of basic rights such as freedom of expression and assembly through intimidation and arrests disguised as counter-terrorism efforts, the HRW added.

The systematic use of torture against ordinary criminal suspects has been documented by HRW in the 2014 report "Public Insecurity: Deaths in Custody and Police Brutality in Vietnam."

Vietnam presented a report on the matter at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on January 22, 2019, claiming that it had implemented 175 out of 182 recommendations accepted at the UN body's previous Universal Periodic Review. According to HRW, the report was "grossly inaccurate."