Three human rights defenders including journalist Pham Doan Trang were arrested by police after attending a meeting with the European Union Delegation in Hanoi to discuss human rights issues ahead of the EU - Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, scheduled for 1 December 2017.


Pham Doan Trang is a human rights defender, blogger and journalist. She is the founder of online law and human rights magazine Luật Khoa and a member of the editorial board of newly launched The Vietnamese, an independent news website which aims to raise public awareness on politics and human rights in Vietnam. She has also worked for major Vietnamese media agencies such as VnExpress, VietNamNet, Vietnam Week, HCMC Legal Daily and the English language website Vietnam Right Now. In 2012, after being arrested and interrogated, she published a recording of her interrogation and was resultantly forced to temporarily leave the country. She returned to Vietnam in January 2015.

On 16 November 2017, human rights defenders Pham Doan Trang, Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Quang A and Chi Tuyen met with the EU Delegation in Hanoi ahead of the EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue. They discussed the current human rights situation in Vietnam, including the Formosa spill, along with freedom of religion in the country. Following a two hour meeting, at around 11:30 am, the four human rights defenders exited the EU building. Bui Thi Minh Hang and Pham Doan Trang left together, while Nguyen Quang A and Chi Tuyen left separately in a different direction. Shortly after leaving, Bui Thi Minh Hang and Pham Doan Trang were arrested together by roughly 10 policemen and were brought to separate police stations. Pham Doan Trang’s phone was confiscated along with her laptop. Nguyen Quang A was arrested separately on his way home. Around midnight, police escorted Pham Doan Trang back to her home in Hanoi, however she has not been able to make contact with anyone as neither her phone, nor her laptop were returned to her. Nguyen Quang A and Bui Thi Minh Hang were both released after a few hours. All three human rights defenders were interrogated during their detention.