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02 Dec 2020

Vietnamese edition of fighting impunity with Magnitsky sanctions now out

2020-12-02. Today, Safeguard Defenders, in collaboration with Vietnamese detained journalist Pham Doan Trang, are releasing the Vietnamese language version of Fighting Impunity: A guide on how civil society can use Magnitsky Acts to sanction human rights violators. This comprehensive manual, localized for Vietnam, is aimed at civil society, and is the only resource of its kind, providing step-by-step instructions on how to file recommendations for sanctions on Vietnamese perpetrators of gross human rights violations.

The guide empowers victims to use  #Magnitsky sanctions -- increasingly being adopted by more countries around the globe -- to seek justice in situations where Vietnam's own legal system does not allow for such redress. It also empowers local groups, civil society organisations, or even individuals to become rights defenders, and to make perpetrators of human rights violations or corruption, and others responsible, such as those who command them, to be accountable for their crimes. Magnitsky sanctions are powerful because they allow countries to target individuals with travel bans, asset freezes including of bank accounts and property, assets that many corrupt human rights violators have hidden away overseas. 

The release is dedicated to Pham Doan Trang who researched, translated, and edited the guide, before she was arrested by Vietnamese authorities for her peaceful exercise of basic legal rights. Our release is guided by her expressed wish that we publish the material whatever her situation. 

The manual also provides an in-depth ‘investigator’s guide’, showing in detail how to track down information on perpetrators. Being able to identify the persons responsible, and those who command them, is a crucial stage in filing a successful sanctions submission. 

Two different editions – a single page and a double-page spread layout - can be downloaded as pdf files via those links. You can find the English language original, aimed at China and Hong Kong, here, and the Chinese edition here

Read the full report on the brutal Dong Tam crackdown, whose commanding officers are ideal targets for Magnitsky sanctions here. You can also find the English edition of Safeguard Defenders' report on Vietnam's use of forced televised confessions - before trial and after torture - here, a subject which can also be a focus for targeted Magnitsky sanctions.  

This manual has been made possible due to significant support from a variety of sectors. To encourage candid responses, all interviewees were offered full anonymity, ranging from diplomats, government officials, those involved in drafting or developing Magnitsky legislation, and members of the international NGO community who have experience in filing for sanctions through Magnitsky Acts. This manual offers not only the procedural step-by-step method for how civil society can interact with Magnitsky sanctioning but also the political realities behind how it actually works and what works best.