#FREETHDTHUC: Human Rights Violations & the Arbitrary Arrest of Vietnamese Pro-Democracy Activist Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức
Kyle Thompson-Taylor ’22, Cincinnati, Ohio
Major: Political Science
Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức is a Vietnamese human rights and pro-democracy activist who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for “activities aimed at subverting the peoples’ administration.” Mr. Trần’s sentence is the longest ever given to a political dissident in Vietnamese history. Trần has continued his activism from behind bars, protesting the treatment of prisoners through hunger strikes. His most recent hunger strike lasted 72 days.
Trần’s case is not unique for political dissidents in Vietnam; there are currently more than 130 political prisoners in the country. Since 2019, arbitrary arrests of activists have been on the rise in Vietnam. The Communist Party of Vietnam holds a monopoly on political power, repeatedly using this power to violate the civil and political rights of the Vietnamese people.
Using materials created by Mr. Trần’s family, Amnesty International, and other activists, I developed an advocacy strategy that could be used on his behalf. The strategy centers around the upcoming anniversary of Trần’s arrest on May 24th and brings together many of Trần’s previous advocates. This strategy also places pressure on the Vietnamese government through the use of social media and a letter-writing campaign from the international community.