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  • » 11/14/2016, 13.41

    VIETNAM

    Defending Mẹ Nấm, a Catholic blogger jailed for defending the environment

    Thanh Thuy

    The activist was arrested on 10 October for "propaganda against the state." She had written many articles against the Formosa Plastics Group and the pollution crisis in the central provinces. Catholics and others sign a letter stating that “Mẹ Nấm is innocent and hundreds of thousands of people are fighting with her."

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh "is innocent and her work has always been legal. She has always shown responsibility for her children, family, younger generations and country,” this according to a message signed by thousands of Catholics, intellectuals and members of civil society and addressed to the authorities on behalf of Mẹ Nấm, pen name of the blogger arrested on 10 October.

    The Catholic activist was jailed in Khánh Hòa province (southern Vietnam) under Article 88 of the Criminal Code, which punishes "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam."

    The evidence against her are the articles she wrote about the environmental disaster that struck Vietnam’s central provinces in April, most notably ‘The fish need clean water, the government be transparent’, ‘Condemn the Formosa Group’, ‘No to the Formosa Group’, and ‘No Chinese expansionism’.

    The Formosa Plastics Group is a Taiwanese conglomerate whose steel mill is responsible for the discharge of pollution that killed 70 tonnes of fish and affected the lives of more than 200,000 people in the provinces of Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Huế e Quảng Bình.

    Mẹ Nấm has been one of the most resolute bloggers in denouncing poverty among fishermen and the injustice of government suppression of demonstrations in favour of the environment.

    The 37-year-old woman has two children who have been living with their grandmother since her arrest. "I hope my daughter will soon be out of jail and back with her children,” Tuyết Lan said. “I can only put trust in God and believe in Him."

    Her family is not allowed to go to visit her in prison and the authorities have not provided her a lawyer.

    After she denounced the damage caused by bauxite mining in northern Vietnam, Mẹ Nấm was arrested and held for nine days in 2009.

    Since then, the activist has worked with the Vietnam Blogger Network (VBN) on several projects in defence of human rights and the environment.

    The VBN posted a message after her arrest in which it defines Mẹ Nấm as "a brave woman. She is not only brave for meeting the challenges to her faith and family, but also the intimidation and oppression that she has been subjected to by local authorities."

    The message from the civil society group ends with a statement that Mẹ Nấm is not the alone in fighting for environmental protection. "There are hundreds of thousands of people protesting against economic projects that pollute the environment."

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    See also

    25/04/2017 17:52:00 VIETNAM
    Vietnamese protesters demand apology over police mistreatment

    Agents seized No-Formosa T-shirts. Police mistreatment sparks anger among locals. For parish priest Dan Huu Nam, "They have to apologise for their behavior and must return the shirts". One year after the disaster, compensation is slow.



    06/02/2017 18:25:00 VIETNAM
    Vietnamese activist accused of "abusing democratic freedoms"

    Nguyen Van Hoa, who will be in detention during the investigation, is among a group of activists who exposed pollution damage caused by the Formosa Plastics Group to local communities. The disaster harmed the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen.



    01/07/2016 13:39:00 VIETNAM
    Hanoi admits Formosa Plastic Group responsible for environmental disaster, will pay damages

    After three months of investigation, the government blames steel maker for tonnes of dead fish and marine pollution. The company will pay US$ 500 million in compensation. For activists and dissidents, this is not enough given the damage to millions of people who need long-term help. The authorities too are responsible.



    12/05/2017 14:03:00 VIETNAM
    Catholic media launch appeal for Vietnamese priests defamed by the government

    Fr. Đặng Hữu Nam and Fr. Nguyễn Đình Thục support protests against the government for failing to distribute compensation from a company responsible for one of the most serious environmental disasters in the country's history. The Catholic Mass Media Federation in a statement: "Immediately stop terrorist acts against the priests of Thuận Nghĩa." "With our total confidence in God, we are in communion, we share and accompany the victims of the disaster." "We call upon international bodies to accompany us in the fight for human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam."



    23/09/2017 15:53:00 PHILIPPINES
    Philippines ranked third in terms of world ocean pollution

    Multinationals contribute to the problem by selling cheap disposable plastic products. Greenpeace points the finger at Nestlé, Unilever and Procter & Gamble as some of the worst offenders.





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