US, UN slam arrest of prominent Vietnamese environmental activist

The United States and United Nations has criticised Vietnam’s detention of a prominent climate activist, saying such actions were part of a broader trend towards curbing free speech.

Hoang Thi Minh Hong, the founder of now-defunct NGO CHANGE, which aimed to tackle some of the country’s most urgent environmental issues, was taken into custody in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.

“The United States is concerned by the detention of leaders and staff of CHANGE, including the ongoing detention of CHANGE’s founder Hoang Thi Minh Hong,” Department of State spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement on Friday.

“We call on Vietnam to respect the rights of those detained and to respect and protect the freedoms of expression and association for all Vietnamese people,” Miller said.

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