Amnesty International issued today a worldwide appeal on behalf of five members of the United Workers Farmers Organization (UWFO) of Vietnam, who have been arrested since last November. None of them have yet been charged. The UWFO was formed last October, shortly before Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was to take place in Hanoi in November. The founding members were arrested just before the APEC conference began: Nguyen Tan Hoanh, Tran Thi Le Hang, Doan Huy Chuong and his father Doan Van Dien. In January, UWFO spokesman Tran Quoc Hien was also arrested.
The UWFO advocates for the right of Vietnamese to form and participate in trade and labor unions free of government interference; and has also called for justice of people whose land and property have been unlawfully confiscated. Forming independent unions is illegal in Vietnam.