Mai Thanh Truyết Danlambao) - From this day, human rights are widely understood to be the rights of man to live on this planet. These are fundamental rights that have been approved most countries in the world, as the 10th of December has been dedicated for International Human Rights Day.
With more than 100 laws and protocols on human rights existed, Vietnam only ratified certain laws. Most of the basic rights applied to people living in civilized countries were not recognized by Vietnam for the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment that is indispensable to human rights, including the right to life, health, food, water, and sanitation.
These above are the rules of human rights, fundamental freedoms, the right to form associations, protocols for the prevention of torture, and more.
Therefore, Vietnam still has many shortcomings in ensuring an "equal" life for the people.
The basic human rights is a flagrant disregard of the communist government in Vietnam. Currently, the Vietnamese people are not entitled to the justifiably rights as all citizens of the world in accordance with UN regulations. There are the rights that people must demand and fight for these noble cause. It is essential for their daily life and future:
1- The right to have clean water;
2- The right to breathe unpolluted air;
3- The right to hygienic and safety of foods.
Although these rights are included in the No. 3 & 25 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are:
- No 3. The right to Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.
- No 25. Food and Shelter for All. We have all the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to care for.
But in reality, the Vietnamese people are struggling to obtain these rights.
After 43 years of governing and managing the whole country by the Political Bureau of Communist in Vietnam for economic development, the rights mentioned above were not applicable. At this time, the government’s policy and planning which have applied in the past and present had created a massive disaster that heavily impacted the environment in our Mother Land.
So, today, I would like to express my voice as a Viet’s child to share with all of you, the representatives of the Canadian, the reasons why the Vietnamese people should have these rights, and the causes of these environmental impacts are:
1- Environmental impacts of deforestation
Before the Second World War, the surface of forest in Vietnam was 19 million hectares (58% of the country's total area). By 1943, the forest had only 14.1 million hectares (43%) remaining; By 1990, the situation was worse, with only 9.1 million hectares (27.7%). Now, only 5% of forestation is remaining!
2- Air pollution
Although Vietnam ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming on September 25, 2002, air pollution and dust pollution increased. Dust is the most common air pollutant in Vietnam. For the past 20 years, "... most of the cities in Vietnam have been contaminated with dust, many of them are severely contaminated with dust."
Lead is another common air pollutant, especially in urban areas. The number of motorcycles and cars exponentially increases and this leads to an airborne lead concentration of 1 to 4 micrograms/m3 (ug/m3). For comparison, according to research published in Pediatrics Journal in 1994, lead concentration in air in Chicago in 1988 were below 0.5 mg/m3 ", considered the most polluted city in the United States of America.
3- Water pollution
The UN has initiated a very clear concept that "water itself is colorless and borderless so it cannot be inhibited" and "Everyone in the world has the right to have enough clean and safe water.”
In Vietnam, the rapid economic and social growth since 1986 has caused urban and rural water pollution throughout the country, and the quality of water resources in Vietnam seems to be more and more degraded.
Wastewater from residential areas, industrial centers, export processing zones, agricultural land, etc., has penetrated surface water, groundwater, and even water quality in coastal areas. Residential water, industrial wastewater, and leachate from landfill sites are the main causes for organic pollution in surface water, especially in big cities such as Saigon, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho.
4- The use of chemicals in agriculture
The term "bảo vệ thực vật in Vietnamese" meaning “plant protection” refers to chemicals used for pesticides, insecticides, weed killers, and fungicides. Here are three main reasons why these poisoning chemicals are becoming universal in Vietnam:
- The above chemicals used do not have the clear label for ingredients. In Vietnam, there are over 700 different brands of these chemicals are being used as fertilizers and “plant protection chemicals”;
- Farmers are not adequately trained.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recommended that the pesticide use index in Vietnam is very high, reaching an average of 5.3 per season, while the index in China is 3.5, the Philippines, 2.0, and India, 2.4.
In Vietnam, pesticides are used separately or in the form of a cocktail to enhance the toxicity of the drug against insect resistance. DDT is considered the main agent in many of these mixtures. For example, a mixture of DDT, Thiodan (or Endosulfan) and Folidol (Methyl Parathion) are commonly used to kill leaf rollers insect in the rice industry.
So, incorrect application of plant protection chemicals as using a proper dosage, incorrect identification of the target (insect pests...), and incorrect timing are three factors that cause:
- Rapidly degrading on the environment;
- Economic efficiency in production is low;
- And the health of the farmer are affected because there are no safeguard measures to access to chemicals.
5- Right to education and guidance
The percentage of farmers in Vietnam is about 50%, according to the 2016 statistics, which is about 48 million. Most of them are not educated or taught how to use chemicals in agriculture. Indonesia is a regional country having a good vision and is seen as a model of proper agricultural development and strong strategy for national development in harmony with environmental protection.
Just a few years ago, an extremely heartbreaking tragedy occurred in the East Sea in which the Chinese called the South China Sea. From the Specific Economic Zone of China, under the name of Formosa at Vũng Áng, Hà Tĩnh Province, thousands of tons of liquid and solid toxic chemicals dumped into the East Sea, which resulting in killing millions of fish alongside from Hà Tĩnh province to four southern provinces as Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên, and Đà Nẵng.
Since hundreds of thousands of fishermen have quit their jobs because they no longer catch fish and shrimp. They are at risk of starvation because there is no job to survive. Once the fishermen perish due to starvation, the farmers and traders are at stake due to the domino’s effect on their businesses. Moreover, millions of people are unaware that shrimp and fish are poisoned, not edible. Consuming the poisoned seafood may not kill them immediately. Yet, in the long run, their lives are at risk of much potential harms to their health.
It is worth mentioning that the so-called Nhà Nước (State of Socialist of Vietnam) has inconsiderate and insensitive to this calamity.Nguyen Phu Trong, the supreme ruler visited this killing area in Vũng Áng but he did not have a word or take any action to protect thevictims. The Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly also stayed in silence regarding this catastrophe.
So, in the great indignation of the Vietnamese people, we took the opportunity, once again, to bring this letter of complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, to Human Rights Watch, asking them to banish the Vietnamese Communist Party out of Human Rights Commission.
One of the most burdensome responsibilities of the Vietnamese leadership is for UNICEF to sponsor and promote the digging of tubewells for clean water in Mekong Delta and Hồng River Delta. Bangladesh is also home to over 4 million tube wells nationwide since the years of 1970. Now, hundreds of thousands of people die each year from arsenic contamination in water.
The Vietnamese Communist continues to advocate the digging of tube wells even though it is acknowledged that arsenic contamination is a reality, through the occurrence of arsenicosis already happened at one Southern part of Ha Noi because the tube well has arsenic concentrations higher than the permitted standard required by WHO (10 ug/L water) more than ten times, and more.
For the past more than ten years, I and a few friends have researched and found out the way of eliminating arsenic in water of these regions in using dried water hyacinth (cây lục bình). My friends are already going back to Mekong Delta to educate the farmers how to use the “bamboo filter” for their drinking water. Please see our web www.weall.care.
Again, Vietnam needs a global perspective, in line with the general development of the world, accepts the common law, and most importantly the need to remove and replace of the structure of “The proletarian dictatorship” (cơ chế chuyên chính vô sản) to govern the country.
Vietnam has won a military victory in 1975. Since then, after 43 years, it can be said today that the mentality of the Vietnamese leader has been poisoned by the above structure, resulting in severe corruption and severe mismanagement syndrome.
Could the victory in the war, although has been gone for 43 years, but it still gives the Vietnamese leader the glory and ecstasy of winning the old days?
Unify the country is not enough. Vietnamese Communist needs to take the blame and take initiative in reconciling the entire cracked and spiritual destroyed nation.
Only this clever work can create the opportunity to save Vietnam in the new process of humanity.
In recent years, the globalization process of nations around the world has proved that countries that do not adapt to a fast and new change will soon disintegrate sooner or later. The global superstructures will no longer be compatible with the way the Vietnamese Communist gives pressure to the Vietnamese people, dictates and orients them to the “so-called” socialist way.
This procedure will no longer work and cannot be applied to Vietnamese people.
- From the speech on Workshop on Human Rights and Environment at Canadian Assembly on May 10th, 2018.
- The author is the Chairman of the Vietnamese American Science & Technology Society – VAST and the Chairman of the Vietnamese Environmental Protection Society - VEPS