On October 10, 2016, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh – aka blogger Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) was unlawfully detained by the police with the alleged crime of “conducting propaganda against the state” under Article 88 of the Penal code.
Quynh is an advocate for human rights, for improvement of people's livelihood, and for sovereignty of Vietnam’s islands in South China Sea for many years. She received the 2015 Human Rights Defenders Award from Civil Rights Defenders, a non-governmental organization based in Stockholm.
Recently, Quynh focused on environmental issues in Vietnam. She denounced Formosa, (- a Taiwanese-owned steel plant whose irresponsible discharge of toxic waste has caused large-scale water pollution which killed millions of fish and other sea-life along Vietnam coasts, and seriously impacted the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen-). She also spoke out against other projects which cause harmful effects on the environment and the people’s health. These activities inevitably led to the blogger’s arrest on October 10, 2016.
The so-called "anti-state propaganda" is in fact the tireless efforts of the blogger in recent years to protect the environment. She persistently demanded closure of Formosa steel plant, and prosecution against those responsible for the disastrous environmental damages.
The arrest of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh is an attack on the will and aspirations of all Vietnamese who are working together to protect Vietnam environment, the rights of the victims and the interests of affected fishermen.
The arrest of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh is the authorities’ notorious intention to instill fear, to stop the people’s defiant efforts in protecting the environment, especially at this time when mass protests by Ha Tinh parish are causing significant pressures on the authorities.
The Vietnamese Bloggers’ Network therefore calls upon all:
- to jointly advocate for the release of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, an activist who has walked alongside with us persistently and enthusiastically in our struggle to protect our environment;
- to continue our increasing efforts to protect our land, to expulse Formosa out of Vietnam, and to stop all projects that potentially cause harm to our people’s lives;
- to speak in unison for the Vietnamese authorities and the free world to understand that the arrest of blogger Me Nam, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, or against any blogger who expresses their wishes and personal views is a violation of the right to free expression that Vietnam has a duty to protect and uphold as a signatory to international conventions, and that it is also an attack to the people’s common aspirations for a safe environment and an accountable government.
The Vietnamese Bloggers’ Network