Professor John Knox among UN Human Rights experts urging Vietnam government to release popular blogger

Photo of Professor John Knox inside the Worrell Professional Center

Professor John Knox

Professor John Knox is among a group of UN human rights experts urging the Vietnam government to release a popular blogger in the following story, “Viet Nam: UN experts urge Government to release blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’,”  published by the UN News Centre on March 8, 2017.

A group of UN human rights experts has urged the Government of Viet Nam to immediately release a popular blogger, known as Mother Mushroom, who has been detained since October last year.

Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a 37-year-old environmental human rights defender, is accused of spreading propaganda against the Government. The charges are linked to her online activities that were critical of the Government.

“We are deeply concerned that Ms. Quynh is being detained because of the exercise of her right to freedom of opinion and expression on a matter of public interest,” the experts emphasized in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“We fear for her physical and psychological integrity, and denounce the violations of her fundamental right to due process, in particular her being detained incommunicado, the denial of her right to legal counsel and the banning of visits from her family,” they added.

Among the issues she tackled was an incident involving the dumping of toxic chemicals in April 2016, which polluted local waters and killed a large number of fish.

“As an environmental human rights defender, Mother Mushroom should be honoured for her courage and perseverance in defending the environment and human rights for years without fear,” the experts stressed.

The experts are Special Rapporteurs: John H. Knox, on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; Maina Kiai, on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; David Kaye, on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Michel Forst, on the situation of human rights defenders, and Baskut Tuncak, on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.