Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, in collaboration with the International Committee for a Free and Democratic Vietnam (ICFDV), will host a conference to discuss the dire human rights situation in Vietnam.

Conference on the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam
Room 100, Sir John A. Macdonald Building, 144 Wellington St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1P 5T3
Friday, May 31, 2019
9:30 am to 2:00 pm


Conference Description

Vietnam’s human rights record remains critical in all areas. The increasing crackdown on peaceful dissent under the guise of national security, the prohibition of independent media, repressive online censorship regulations, restrictions on religious freedom and the use of torture on democratic activists and bloggers have constantly ranked the Socialist Republic of Vietnam among the top offenders in the world.

For Canada, these concerns are often weighed against Vietnam’s rapid economic growth recently driven by progressive free trade agreements and promising investment opportunities with a priority market in Southeast Asia.

To shed light on these challenges, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo will host a panel that brings together leading thinkers to discuss how Canada’s expanding commercial ties and diplomatic strategy are inevitably confronted by Vietnam’s human rights violations, which have intensified in the information and digital age.

By explaining how compelling human rights issues and a shared commitment to economic prosperity with Vietnam represent a complex balancing act, Canadians will better understand the value of shaping a foreign policy of purpose that defends and sustains basic freedoms.


Mr. John Sifton

Asia Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch


Ms. Irene Poetranto

Senior Researcher
Citizen Lab


Mr. Marius Grinius

Former Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute


Guest Speaker

Mr. Vo Minh Tri (aka Viet Khang)

Composer, prominent activist and dissident
Victim of Communism

In 2012, Vo Minh Tri, also known under his pen name as Viet Khang, composed and posted a number of songs criticizing the Vietnamese government. The songs “Anh Là Ai?” (Who are you?) and “Nước Nam Của Người Việt Nam?” (Where is my Country?) criticized the Vietnamese government’s foreign policy in response to China’s adventurism in disputed regions in the South China Sea. Shortly after the videos went viral on YouTube, Viet Khang was sentenced to four years in prison followed by two years of house arrest for conducting “anti-state propaganda against the state” under article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

Viet Khang’s conviction and peaceful advocacy provoked a worldwide campaign calling for the Vietnamese government to release him along with another famous singer/songwriter, Vu Anh Binh Tran.

Vo Minh Tri was released from jail on December 13, 2015, upon completing his jail term and now resides in the United States as a refugee.

Viet Khang’s music remains censored to this day.


The Hon. Senator Thanh Hai Ngo

Senate of Canada


Lunch and refreshments will be provided for panelists and audience members.

Please note that French and English interpretation services will be provided for the duration of the conference. Vietnamese interpretation will also be provided during Mr. Vo Minh Tri’s presentation.

For more information, please contact our office at 613-943-1599 or