August 16, 2021

Rep. Lou Correa Leads Colleagues in Urge to Vice President Harris to Address Human Rights Issues

Rep. Lou Correa Leads Colleagues in Urge to Vice President Harris to Address Human Rights Issues

Washington, D.C. — In advance of Vice President Kamala Harris’s historic trip to Vietnam, Congressman Lou Correa led his colleagues urging her to address human rights issues and requesting that American citizens living in Vietnam be given equal access to COVID-19 vaccines provided by the U.S. government.

Rep. Lou Correa said, “During her first visit to Vietnam to promote the Biden Administration’s “America is Back” message, Vice President Harris must remind Vietnam that democracy and basic human rights are the core values of the United States. We must also not leave behind the thousands of American citizens who currently work and reside in Vietnam. We have the supply and demand for vaccinations at the U.S. embassy and consulate, and we have a responsibility to Americans who want to receive the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine. I congratulate Vice President Harris on her historic visit, and I look forward to continuing to work with her on these matters.”

Congressman Correa is joined by Congressman Alan Lowenthal and Congresswoman Michelle Steel as representatives of Little Saigon, which has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam.

“It is absolutely critical that Vice President Harris makes human rights a major point of discussion during her first in-person visit with the Vietnamese government,” Rep. Lowenthal said. “Vietnam's continuing desire to be an equal member of the international community cannot be untethered from their dismal human rights record. While the U.S. should do what we can to assist the Vietnamese people during this global pandemic, we must make it clear that our nation will continue to hold the Vietnamese government accountable for their human rights abuses.” 

"The reports of continued abuses in Vietnam, including crackdown of a free press and jailing peaceful dissidents, are deeply concerning. I join my colleagues in urging Vice President Harris to stand up for basic human rights. The people of Vietnam also need expanded access to the COVID-19 vaccine and I hope the Administration continues to push Vietnamese officials to distribute these vaccines without prejudice," said Rep. Michelle Steel. 

The letter also states, “We understand that it is the administration’s policy not to tell the countries how to distribute the vaccine. However, there are more than 100,000 U.S. citizens living and working in Vietnam, and we urge you to consider the responsibility of the United States to our citizens abroad and allow the U.S. embassy and consulate in Vietnam to provide COVID-19 vaccines to U.S. citizens immediately. This effort would protect Americans without having to jump ahead on the waitlist and allow the Vietnamese government to comfortably vaccinate their citizens on their own schedule.” 

BACKGROUND: Congressman Lou Correa represents parts of Little Saigon in his district, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, and Santa Ana. He has a long history of advocating for human rights in Vietnam and fighting for constituents who were imprisoned in Vietnam on unproven charges. His efforts helped in the release of Michael Nguyen from a Vietnamese prison after serving 2 years of a 12-year sentence. Read more here.

Link to letter text.

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