In the News

Julian Pequet -

Four California Democrats say President Obama has promised them he will press Vietnam's president on the country's human-rights record when he hosts him at the White House this week.

Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Susan Davis, Alan Lowenthal and Scott Peters met with Obama at the White House  on Tuesday. They said Obama promised them to address concerns such as the lack of religious liberty and press freedoms in the communist nation when he meets with President Truong Tan Sang on Thursday.

“I welcome President Obama’s commitment to include human rights as a priority topic in his upcoming talks with Vietnam’s President Sang,” Lofgren, the co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, said in a joint statement.

“According to independent groups and advocates, Vietnam’s deplorable human rights record has only gotten worse in the past few years. The United States can play an important role by making it clear that the future of good relations with our country goes hand in hand with Vietnam affording its citizens their basic rights.”

Davis added that the United States must send a “strong and clear message that human rights abuses in Vietnam need to end immediately” as both nations participate in negotiations around a regional Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

“Trade must not come at the expense of human rights,” Davis said. 

Lofgren is the author of legislation that would bar Vietnam from enjoying special U.S. trade preferences until it takes measures to curb human rights abuses. Davis and Lowenthal have signed on to the bill.