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  2d Session
                                 S. 2784

              To promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam.



                           September 9, 2004

Mr. Brownback (for himself, Mrs. Dole, and Mr. Sessions) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                           Foreign Relations


                                 A BILL

              To promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Vietnam Human 
Rights Act of 2004''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
                         GOVERNMENT OF VIETNAM

Sec. 101. Bilateral nonhumanitarian assistance.

Sec. 201. Assistance.

Sec. 301. Radio Free Asia transmissions to Vietnam.
Sec. 302. United States educational and cultural exchange programs with 

Sec. 401. Refugee resettlement for nationals of Vietnam.

Sec. 501. Annual report.


    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a one-party State, 
        ruled and controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), 
        which continues to deny the right of citizens to change their 
        government. Although in recent years the National Assembly of 
        Vietnam has played an increasingly active role as a forum for 
        highlighting local concerns, corruption, and inefficiency, the 
        National Assembly remains subject to CPV direction. The CPV 
        maintains control over the selection of candidates in national 
        and local elections.
            (2) The Government of Vietnam permits no public challenge 
        to the legitimacy of the one-party State. It prohibits 
        independent political, labor, and social organizations and 
        continues to detain and imprison persons for the peaceful 
        expression of dissenting religious and political views, 
        including Pham Hong Son, Tran Dung Tien, Father Nguyen Van Ly, 
        Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, Nguyen Vu Binh, Pham Que Duong, and Pastor 
        Nguyen Hong Quang, among others.
            (3) The Government of Vietnam continues to commit serious 
        human rights abuses. In January 2004, the Department of State 
        reported to Congress that, during the previous year, the 
        Government of Vietnam had made ``no progress'' toward releasing 
        political and religious activists, ending official restrictions 
        on religious activity, or respecting the rights of indigenous 
        minorities in the Central and Northern Highlands of Vietnam.
            (4) The Government of Vietnam limits freedom of religion 
        and restricts the operation of religious organizations other 
        than those approved by the State. While officially sanctioned 
        religious organizations are able to operate with varying 
        degrees of autonomy, some of those organizations continue to 
        face restrictions on selecting, training, and ordaining 
        sufficient numbers of clergy and in conducting educational and 
        charitable activities. The Government has previously 
        confiscated numerous churches, temples, and other properties 
        belonging to religious organizations, most of which have never 
        been returned.
            (5) Unregistered ethnic minority Protestant congregations 
        in the Northwest and Central Highlands of Vietnam suffer severe 
        abuses, which have included forced renunciations of faith, the 
        closure and destruction of churches, the arrest and harassment 
        of pastors, and, in a few cases, there have been credible 
        reports that minority religious leaders have been beaten and 
            (6) The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), one of 
        the largest religious denominations in Vietnam, was declared 
        illegal in 1981. The Government of Vietnam confiscated its 
        temples and persecuted its clergy for refusing to join the 
        state-sponsored Buddhist organizations. For more than 2 
        decades, the Government has detained and confined senior UBCV 
        clergy, including the Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang, the 
        Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, the Venerable Thich Tue Sy, and 
            (7) The Catholic Church in Vietnam continues to face 
        significant restrictions on the training and ordination of 
        priests and bishops, resulting in an insufficient number of 
        priests and bishops to support the growing Catholic population 
        in Vietnam. Although recent years have brought a modest easing 
        of government control in some dioceses, officials in other 
        areas strictly limit the conduct of religious education classes 
        and charitable activities. Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, who 
        was convicted in a closed trial in 2001 after publicly 
        criticizing religious repression by the Government of Vietnam, 
        remains in prison.
            (8) The Government of Vietnam continues to suppress the 
        activities of other religious believers, including Cao Dai, 
        Baha'i, and Hoa Hao who lack official recognition or have 
        chosen not to affiliate with the State-sanctioned groups, 
        including through the use of detention and imprisonment.
            (9) The Government of Vietnam significantly restricts the 
        freedoms of speech and the press, particularly with respect to 
        political and religious speech. Government and Communist Party-
        related organizations control all print and electronic media, 
        including access to the Internet. The Government blocks web 
        sites that it deems politically or culturally inappropriate, 
        and it jams some foreign radio stations, including Radio Free 
        Asia. The Government has detained, convicted, and imprisoned 
        individuals who have posted or sent democracy related materials 
        via the Internet.
            (10) Indigenous Montagnards in the Central Highlands of 
        Vietnam continue to face significant repression. The Government 
        of Vietnam restricts the practice of Christianity by those 
        populations, and more than 100 Montagnards have been sentenced 
        to prison terms of up to 13 years for claiming land rights, 
        organizing Christian gatherings, or attempting to seek asylum 
        in Cambodia.
            (11) The Government of Vietnam uses the separatist agenda 
        of a relatively small number of ethnic minority leaders as a 
        rationale for violating civil and political rights in ethnic 
        minority regions.
            (12) The Government of Vietnam arrested or detained nearly 
        300 Montagnards during 2003 and, since then, many hundreds of 
        Montagnards have gone into hiding, fearing arrest, 
        interrogation, or physical abuse by government authorities.
            (13) During Easter weekend in April 2004, thousands of 
        Montagnards gathered to protest their treatment by the 
        Government of Vietnam, including the confiscation of tribal 
        lands and ongoing restrictions on religious activities. 
        Credible reports indicate that the protests were met with a 
        violent response and that many demonstrators were arrested, 
        injured, or are in hiding, and that others were killed.
            (14) Government officials continue to restrict access to 
        the Central and Northwest Highlands of Vietnam by diplomats, 
        nongovernmental organizations, journalists, and other 
        foreigners, making it difficult to verify conditions in those 
            (15) United States refugee resettlement programs for 
        Vietnamese nationals, including the Orderly Departure Program 
        (ODP), the Resettlement Opportunities for Returning Vietnamese 
        (ROVR) program, the Priority One (P1) program and the 
        resettlement of boat people from refugee camps throughout 
        Southeast Asia, were authorized by law in order to rescue 
        Vietnamese nationals who have suffered persecution on account 
        of their wartime associations with the United States, as well 
        as those who currently have a well-founded fear of persecution 
        on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, 
        or membership in a particular social group.
            (16) While these refugee resettlement programs have served 
        their purposes well, a significant number of eligible refugees 
        have been unfairly denied or excluded, in some cases by 
        vindictive or corrupt Government of Vietnam officials who 
        controlled access to the programs, and in other cases by United 
        States personnel who imposed unduly restrictive interpretations 
        of program criteria.
            (17) The Department of State has agreed to extend the 
        September 30, 1994, registration deadline for former United 
        States employees, ``re-education'' survivors, and surviving 
        spouses of those who did not survive ``re-education'' camps to 
        sign up for United States refugee programs, as well as to 
        resume the Vietnamese In-Country Priority One Program in 
        Vietnam to provide protection to victims of persecution on 
        account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or 
        membership in a particular social group who otherwise have no 
        access to the Orderly Departure Program.
            (18) The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the 
        Department of Homeland Security has agreed to resume the 
        processing of former United States employees under the U11 
        program, which had been unilaterally suspended by the United 
        States Government, as well as to review the applications of 
        Amerasians, children of American servicemen left behind in 
        Vietnam after the war ended in April 1975, for resettlement to 
        the United States under the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1988.
            (19) Congress and the people of the United States are 
        united in their determination that the expansion of relations 
        with Vietnam should not be construed as approval of or 
        complacency about the serious violations of fundamental human 
        rights engaged in by the Government of Vietnam. The promotion 
        of freedom and democracy around the world is and must continue 
        to be a central objective of United States foreign policy. 
        Congress remains hopeful about, and willing to recognize 
        improvement in, the future human rights practices of the 
        Government of Vietnam, which is the motivating purpose behind 
        this Act.

                         GOVERNMENT OF VIETNAM


    (a) Assistance.--
            (1) In general.--United States nonhumanitarian assistance 
        may not be provided to the Government of Vietnam in an amount 
        exceeding the amount so provided for fiscal year 2004--
                    (A) for fiscal year 2005, unless not later than 30 
                days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
                President determines and certifies to Congress that the 
                requirements of subparagraphs (A) through (D) of 
                paragraph (2) have been met during the 12-month period 
                ending on the date of the certification; and
                    (B) for each subsequent fiscal year unless the 
                President determines and certifies to Congress in the 
                most recent annual report submitted pursuant to section 
                501 that the requirements of subparagraphs (A) through 
                (E) of paragraph (2) have been met during the 12-month 
                period covered by the report.
            (2) Requirements.--The requirements of this paragraph are 
                    (A) the Government of Vietnam has made substantial 
                progress toward releasing all political and religious 
                prisoners from imprisonment, house arrest, and other 
                forms of detention;
                    (B) the Government of Vietnam has made substantial 
                progress toward--
                            (i) respecting the right to freedom of 
                        religion, including the right to participate in 
                        religious activities and institutions without 
                        interference by or involvement of the 
                        Government; and
                            (ii) returning estates and properties 
                        confiscated from the churches;
                    (C) the Government of Vietnam has made substantial 
                progress toward allowing Vietnamese nationals free and 
                open access to United States refugee programs;
                    (D) the Government of Vietnam has made substantial 
                progress toward respecting the human rights of members 
                of ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands and 
                elsewhere in Vietnam; and
                    (E) neither any official of the Government of 
                Vietnam nor any agency or entity wholly or partly owned 
                by the Government of Vietnam was complicit in a severe 
                form of trafficking in persons, unless the Government 
                of Vietnam took all appropriate steps to end any such 
                complicity and hold such official, agency, or entity 
                fully accountable for its conduct.
    (b) Exception.--
            (1) Continuation of assistance in the national interest.--
        Notwithstanding the failure of the Government of Vietnam to 
        meet the requirements of subsection (a)(2), the President may 
        waive the application of subsection (a) for any fiscal year if 
        the President determines that the provision to the Government 
        of Vietnam of increased United States nonhumanitarian 
        assistance would promote the purposes of this Act or is 
        otherwise in the national interest of the United States.
            (2) Exercise of waiver authority.--The President may 
        exercise the authority under paragraph (1) with respect to--
                    (A) all United States nonhumanitarian assistance to 
                Vietnam; or
                    (B) one or more programs, projects, or activities 
                of such assistance.
    (c) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Severe form of trafficking in persons.--The term 
        ``severe form of trafficking in persons'' means any activity 
        described in section 103(8) of the Trafficking Victims 
        Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(8)).
            (2) United states nonhumanitarian assistance.--The term 
        ``United States nonhumanitarian assistance'' means--
                    (A) any assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act 
                of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), including programs 
                under title IV of chapter 2 of part I of that Act (22 
                U.S.C. 2169 et seq.), relating to the Overseas Private 
                Investment Corporation), other than--
                            (i) disaster relief assistance, including 
                        any assistance under chapter 9 of part I of 
                        that Act (22 U.S.C. 2292 et seq.);

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