Spokeswoman on Human Rights Watch comments

"It is regrettable that though recognising Vietnam's achievements in the recent past and welcoming the Vietnamese Government's decision to release tens of thousands of prisoners from detention camps, the Human Rights Watch report gave biased comments on what is going on in Vietnam," said the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Ms Phan Thuy Thanh.

While answering foreign correspondents' queries on Vietnam's reaction to the report released on May 2 by the Human Rights Watch, the spokesperson said in Ha Noi on May 3 that by publicizing such comments the organisation gave itself the right to judge on and intervene in the internal affairs of a country.

She once again reiterated that there were neither political prisoners in Vietnam, nor people kept under custody for holding different political viewpoints. There are only prisoners who were imprisoned for their violations of Vietnamese law, Thanh stressed.

"The fundamental freedom of Vietnamese citizens has been clearly stipulated and respected in the Constitution. The State of Vietnam has recorded great achievements in socio-economic development and in improving the material and cultural life for its people, thus gradually building and completing a legal system to ensure and bring into full play fundamental rights of freedom and development to all citizens in civil, political, economic, cultural and social domains. Those achievements have been recognized and highly valued by the international community," Thanh told foreign correspondents.

She also answered foreign correspondents' question on Vietnam's reaction to the Canadian Government's announcement that it will exercise several new measures, including suspending ministerial-level relations with, and aid to, Vietnam, to oppose Vietnam's exercising a death sentence on Nguyen Thi Hiep for drug trafficking.

Thanh said that Vietnam's viewpoint on the case of Nguyen Thi Hiep was clearly stated in the April 28 statement by the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Hiep illegally transported a large amount of heroin, violating Vietnam's laws on drug trafficking, the spokesperson said, adding that therefore, she was tried properly according to Vietnamese law.

"The deed reflects Vietnam's resolve and great efforts to fight drug abuse, a threat not only to Vietnam but also to the world as a whole. We think that the move should be widely agreed with and supported," Thanh noted.

She also said that bilateral relations between Vietnam and Canada have improved greatly in the recent past. "We highly value Canada's cooperation with and assistance to Vietnam. We deeply regret the recent decision by the Canadian Government and hope that bilateral ties will soon be restored," Thanh added. (VNA)