Mother of jailed Vietnam activist warns on trade pact
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The mother of a jailed Vietnamese labour activist appealed on Thursday for the United States (US) to use a Pacific trade pact as pressure to end what rights groups call widespread violations.
The mother of Do Thi Minh Hanh, one of three organisers at a shoe factory sentenced in 2010 to up to nine years in prison, said Vietnam's authorities were eager to seal the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an ambitious trade deal under negotiation among 12 nations including the US, Japan and Australia.
"This would give a great occasion for the US to impress on Vietnam the need to release political prisoners including my daughter and to improve conditions for workers and labour rights in Vietnam," the mother, Tran Thi Ngoc Minh, told a news conference at the US Congress.
President Barack Obama has made the Trans-Pacific Partnership a top priority, seeing it as a way to solidify US ties with the dynamic Asia region.