WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, spoke on the House floor this week to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, which falls on Saturday, April 30, 2016. In light of President Obama’s upcoming trip to Vietnam, Rep. Sanchez called attention to the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Vietnamese government and urged President Obama to call for the release of unjustly imprisoned human rights activists.
Rep. Sanchez’s full floor speech can be watched HERE.
“I join the Vietnamese American community across the nation and around the world to commemorate the 41st Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon,” said Rep. Sanchez. “We must remember our fallen soldiers, American veterans, and our South Vietnamese allies, who have fought and died in the name of freedom and democracy.”
“Unfortunately, the government of Vietnam continues to crack down on its citizens by utilizing Article 79 of the Vietnamese penal code which prohibits political pluralism or for associating with pro-democracy parties,” said Rep. Sanchez.
Last week, Rep. Sanchez met with Ms. Vu Minh Khanh, the wife of prominent Vietnamese political prisoner, Mr. Nguyen Van Dai. Mr. Nguyen is currently being detained by the Vietnamese government, after being severely beaten for peacefully expressing his views on democracy.
“As President Obama prepares his visit to Vietnam, I urge the President to make human rights a top priority. I strongly urge President Obama to call for the release of human rights activists Mr. Nguyen Van Dai and Father Nguyen Van Ly,” said Rep. Sanchez. “It is time for the United States to take a strong and principled stand against Vietnam’s ongoing human rights violations.”
For the past 19 years, Congresswoman Sanchez has led the House of Representatives in calling for religious freedom and social justice for the Vietnamese people. Rep. Sanchez believes the United States must hold the Vietnamese government accountable for its well documented egregious and systemic human rights violations before viable economic relations can be pursued.
Rep. Sanchez is proud to represent the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam in the world, in Orange County, California.