The crackdown on human rights defenders, media, civil society and the political opposition intensified ahead of elections scheduled for July 2018. The authorities’ misuse of the justice system continued. New criminal charges were brought against serving and former leaders of the main opposition party. The authorities increased pressure on civil society including by conducting surveillance of human rights workers and restricting or shutting down organizations monitoring elections. Media freedom and diversity were dramatically reduced. Human rights defenders continued to be monitored, threatened, arrested and imprisoned. Montagnard asylum-seekers faced forcible return to Viet Nam.
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