Cornyn to Offer Vietnam Human Rights Legislation as Amendment to Defense Bill


In: All News   Posted 05/23/2016
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‘Our two countries will never achieve the kind of close relationship that I know many in Vietnam and many in the United States aspire to until Vietnam releases all political prisoners, demonstrates basic respect for human rights, and embraces self-government ideals that we, again, take for granted here in America.’

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke on the Senate floor about the Vietnam Human Rights Sanctions Act, legislation he’s introduced to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on Vietnamese nationals who are complicit in human rights abuses and which he plans to offer a version of as an amendment when the Senate considers the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his speech can be found here.

“Many people don't realize how big a Vietnamese-American community that Texas has, and many are surprised when I tell them that Vietnamese is the third most commonly spoken language in Texas.” 

“I have been particularly impressed by the passion and drive that those from Vietnam who have now made America their home, how passionate they are about things that we perhaps take for granted.”

“It's important to remember even as President Obama is traveling to Vietnam, that Vietnam is a brutal communist regime that continues to disregard basic human rights.” 

“Our two countries will never achieve the kind of close relationship that I know many in Vietnam and many in the United States aspire to until Vietnam releases all political prisoners, demonstrates basic respect for human rights, and embraces self-government ideals that we, again, take for granted here in America. I believe that until that happens, the United States has no choice but to continue to hold Vietnam at arm's length. And that means we must do all we can to put pressure on the regime to strengthen freedoms for the Vietnamese people.” 

“Earlier this year, I reintroduced a piece of legislation called the Vietnamese Human Rights Sanctions Act, legislation that would impose travel restrictions and other sanctions on Vietnamese nationals who were complicit in human rights abuses against their fellow people. And I intend to offer this legislation, the Vietnamese Human Rights Sanctions Act, as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill that we will be debating this week.” 

“The United States simply must do more to support the rights of the Vietnamese people and freedom-loving people everywhere. And we simply can't give a pass to the Vietnamese regime and a pass to their oppressive government because, frankly, it's a little inconvenient to bring up during the time we're talking about trade and better economic relationships. This bill is a step forward in the fight for their civil, religious and political liberties.”