Rights group condemns attacks on Vietnamese activists

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An international human rights group has condemned attacks on Vietnamese bloggers and activists by unknown assailants and urged the government to carry out impartial investigations and bring those responsible to justice.

New York-based Human Rights Watch in a report released Monday highlighted 36 assaults that took place with apparent impunity between January 2015 and April 2017.

"In many cases, the assaults took place in plain view of uniformed police officers who did not intervene," it said. "In many of the cases, the assaults took place in tandem with and seemingly in support of official repressive measures against the activists in question."

It added that in almost all the cases the victims of those attacks "were also targeted for arrest and other forms of official repression."

"It's bad enough that activists in Vietnam have to risk prison for speaking out, but now they have to risk their safety on a daily basis simply for exercising their basic rights," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a news release. "The Vietnamese government needs to make it clear that it will not tolerate this kind of behavior and bring to an end this campaign against rights campaigners."

"The fact that thugs abducted activists in broad daylight, forced them into vans, and beat them demonstrates the impunity with which activists are persecuted," said Adams. "The Vietnamese government should understand that tolerance of these violent attacks will lead to lawlessness and chaos instead of the social order and stability it says it is striving for."

The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to question to comment on the report.

The report said there are approximately 110 known political prisoners in Vietnam.

Vietnam has said there are no political prisoners in the communist country, only those who broke the law were put behind bars.