Responding to the three-year jail sentence handed down to Vietnamese climate activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong on Thursday, 28 September on tax evasion charges, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns Ming Yu Hah said:
“Vietnamese authorities must end their crackdown on environmental campaigners now. This verdict is a self-inflicted wound on Viet Nam’s ability to tackle one of the most seismic issues of our time. It is also the latest example of authorities’ intentional misuse of tax laws to wage a crackdown on environmental activists.
“Hoang Thi Minh Hong is an internationally recognized champion of climate justice. She was the first Vietnamese person to visit Antarctica and has dedicated her life to advocating and campaigning for clean energy and wildlife conservation. If Viet Nam is serious about tackling climate change, it must release all environmental activists, campaigners and experts from jail now.
“The international community must condemn this verdict and urge Viet Nam to drop all criminal charges against environmental activists. Authorities in Vietnam must also wake up to the fact that they can only fulfil their climate goals and responsibilities by working with, rather than against, those most dedicated to this cause in their own country.”
The Ho Chi Minh City Court in Viet Nam sentenced Hoang Thi Minh Hong to three-years in prison for tax evasion on 28 September 2023.
On 31 May 2023, Hoang was detained by authorities on trumped up tax evasion charges. She is the fifth prominent environmentalist in Viet Nam to be accused of ‘tax evasion’ in the last two years. Dang Dinh Bach, another environmental lawyer and advocate also was sentenced to five years for tax evasion in January 2022. The UN Human Rights and the UN Environment Programme in a joint-statement expressed their grave concern on “the repressive restrictions on fundamental freedoms” for all charges against environmental activists.