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Nguyen Quang A


Nguyen Quang A is a human rights defender and a prominent member of Vietnamese civil society. In 2007, he co-founded the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), an independent, non-profit think-tank, since closed, that frequently questioned the government's policies. In 2013, he co-founded the Civil Society Forum in response to Decree 72, a party document that limits online expression. The forum has, among other activities, organised protests against environmental damage and promoted the participation of independent candidates for Parliament elections. Lately, Nguyen Quang A has been extremely vocal regarding the 2016 Formosa spill, an industrial disaster which caused tens of thousands of fishermen to lose their source of livelihood.

Vietnamese authorities treat human rights defenders as “enemies of the State”. HRDs are subjected to intimidation, threats, interrogation, harassment, arrest and routine beatings. Many defenders are victims of arbitrary detention and criminalisation. Most often, they are not informed of the reasons for their arrest or why their request for bail is denied. When put on trial, they are very often sentenced to heavy jail terms and mistreated in prison. Detained HRDs also do not have access to lawyers and families and can be denied medical care. They can be intentionally transferred to remote locations, thus making it more difficult for their families to visit them. Human rights lawyers are often abused and disbarred from their respective bar association.