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International NGOs Call for Release of Prominent Environmental Defender in Vietnam

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Environmental Lawyer Dang Dinh Bach Is One of Several Silenced by the Vietnamese Government After Attempts to Wean the Country Off of Coal and Protect Communities from Public Health Hazards. International NGOs are rallying around prominent environmental lawyer Dang Dinh Bach on the one-year anniversary of his five-year prison sentence in Vietnam with the launch of the website and the #StandwithBach social media campaign calling for his immediate release. Numerous civil society organizations including Global Witness, Friends of the Earth US, Earthrights International, International Land Coalition, Grassroots Foundation and International Rivers are supporting the campaign and calling on the Vietnamese Government to immediately release Bach. The groups are also demanding that G7 nations providing multi-billion dollar funding for Vietnam’s just energy transition support this call since it will be impossible to successfully implement the transition while environmental and climate leaders such as Bach are in jail.

Bach was imprisoned for "tax evasion" after leading a campaign to reduce Vietnam’s reliance on coal. As the founder of the Law and Policy of Sustainable Development Research Centre, he has dedicated his life to protecting communities from harmful pollution, phasing out plastic waste, and supporting the government’s transition to clean energy. He has engaged in numerous hunger strikes to protest his conviction and Vietnam’s use of ambiguous tax laws to silence environmental and climate leaders. Bach is one of several environmental defenders who have been imprisoned in Vietnam since June 2021 on charges of income tax evasion. Serving nearly two years is internationally-renowned climate expert and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ms. Nguy Thi Khanh. Khanh worked with provincial governments to reduce the government’s coal expansion plans, raised public awareness of the link between coal plant emissions and Hanoi having some of the worst air pollution in the world, and conducted research and policy engagement to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of solar solutions in Vietnam. All of this and more paved the way for Vietnam’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 and the subsequent $15.5 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) recently announced between G7 nations and Vietnam. Such an ambitious undertaking cannot be successfully implemented while people like Khanh, Bach and others are unable to participate in the implementation process.

Stand with Bach