Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), unanimously passed legislation that promotes freedom and democracy in Vietnam.  H.R. 1897, the Vietnam Human Rights Act, blocks non-humanitarian assistance to Vietnam if the Communist government fails to make progress regarding its political and religious prisoners.  Chairman Royce is an original co-sponsor of the bill, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).  A summary of today’s Committee action is available HERE

Chairman Royce said“I am a strong supporter of H.R. 1897, the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2013, of which I am a lead cosponsor.  Over the years, this Committee has held many hearings on Vietnam.  If these hearings have had one consistent theme, it’s the deterioration of human rights there.  Government thugs brutalize peaceful dissidents.  Anyone who dares to blog or publish material on democracy or anything critical of the Communist party faces years in jail and physical abuse.  We need to send a message to the Communist government; a message with teeth. This bill does just that.”

NOTE: Royce recently introduced H.Res. 218, legislation calling on the State Department to re-list Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern” for its gross religious freedom violations.  Royce is also the author of legislation that expanded Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) broadcasts in this critical region of the world.