Saturday, April 20, 2024

Nhân Quyền

The Vietnamese Newspaper

Letter to the Prime Minister: Re. ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024

7 March 2024

Hon Anthony Albanese Prime Minister of Australia

Re. ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Vietnamese Community in Australia, I would like to congratulate you on the recent successful ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024 in Melbourne. Australia indeed was displaying world class images in all aspects of the whole event which I was proud to witness as a Vietnamese Australian. However, there were some important although sensitive matters associated with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) that I would like to bring to your attention. In your speech,

You informed the public of the 75% increase in trade between the 2 countries. Whilst these economic gains may benefit Australia and some very rich and powerful authorities in SRV, the great majority of its people are still living below the poverty line while high ranking members of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) are getting richer every year. In fact, the man you hosted (PM Pham Minh Chinh) is among those richest members of the CPV, where most if not all of his wealth came from foreign aids like Australia and foreign investment influence gains.

You mentioned partnerships in various areas such as regional security and stability, ODR programs, $100 million in aid to boost Vietnam green energy sector and critical mineral partnership, Importing 1000 Vietnamese workers to work in agricultural areas in Australia, Australia-Vietnam Security Dialogue at Ministerial level, and more, BUT, you never mentioned about the Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue or the increasing Human Rights abuses in Vietnam since the Communist dishonoured the 1973 Geneva convention, invaded and took over our home land – the Republic of Vietnam on 30 April 1975. You may be disappointed to know that after 18 years of dialogues, the Human Rights violation in Vietnam has not been improved and this needed to be addressed with the SRV representatives that you were hosting in Canberra recently.

You referred to the 50 years relationship between Australia and Vietnam in broad term. However, Australia already had a 67 years diplomatic relation with the Republic of Vietnam since the mid-fifties under Robert Menzies’ government. The Republic of Vietnam already had its Embassy in O’Malley Canberra as our official diplomat quarter for nearly 2 decades before the fall of Saigon in 1975.

You were correct in saying “about over 350 thousand Australian of Vietnamese heritage in Australia”, BUT you did not seem to understand that the majority of those people are also of refugee back ground. These Vietnamese refugees fled their homeland since as early as 1975 in search for freedom and seeking asylum from the Vietnamese communist now known as SRV regime. The Vietnamese refugees in Australia condemns the Human Rights abuses of the SRV regime and we hold regular protests against those violations.

On March 2nd, our VCA in Victoria held a freedom march from the Federation Square to the Victoria’s Parliament House then held a massive protest there opposing the presence of SRV officials in Australia; which I am sure you were well aware. The VCA never had any link to the SRV regime. We do not welcome SRV officials in Australia where we call home.

Whilst respecting the needs for hosting ASEAN summit in Melbourne and Australia diplomacy with SRV, we VCA asked that the Australian government put Human Rights before trade. We ask that any aids to Vietnam including scholarships should have human rights conditions attached to them, and we ask that the Australian government invest our taxpayer’s money in its own people first – The Australian.


Mr Cong LE

National President

Vietnamese Community in Australia