Human Rights Should Come Before Trade

I would like to commend my colleagues who voted against granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Vietnam yesterday.  Despite my continued action and the work of many of my colleagues in Congress, Vietnam has consistently refused to protect and improve the human rights situation for its people.  Just two months ago, the Vietnamese government arrested my constituent, a U.S. citizen, Cong Thanh Do and held him in prison for 38 days in Vietnam without charge.

The failure of H.R. 5602 last night shows the Vietnamese government that its repeated violations of human rights have not gone unnoticed.  Before Congress rewards Vietnam by changing voting rules to pass a PNTR measure, the Vietnamese government should exhibit a good-faith effort to improve its respect of human rights, free speech, and freedom of religion.