Vietnam News

Activists press Apple to oppose Vietnam’s detainments of climate experts

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Apple was pressed on Thursday to take action on Vietnam’s detention of climate experts, with activist organizations saying it should weigh in given that the country has become a key manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker.

In a letter to Apple, more than 60 human rights and environmental rights organizations highlighted the Sept. 15 detention of Ngo Thi To Nhien, the executive director of the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition (VIET), an independent think tank focused on green energy policy.

Before her detention, Nhien had worked with the Vietnamese government and international organizations on the country’s energy transition towards renewable energy, according to Bangkok-based advocacy group Project88, one of the rights groups that signed the letter.

Vietnamese authorities have accused Nhien of improperly accessing documents. At least five other climate experts have been detained, accused of tax fraud.

Activists say the charges have been trumped up. The United States and the United Nations have also criticized the detentions of climate activists.

“Since Vietnam is now Apple’s most important production hub outside of China and has committed to human rights and ‘equity and justice in climate solutions,’ we believe you have a responsibility to weigh in,” the rights groups wrote in the letter to Apple’s executives and board of directors.

“Indeed, by not making a public statement on this matter, you risk violating your own environmental and human rights policies and delegitimizing Apple’s positive work in these areas.”

Apple manufactures iPads, AirPods and Apple Watches in Vietnam and suppliers for MacBooks are also investing in the country.

Apple has in the past called on the Vietnamese government to make it easier for businesses to purchase energy directly from renewable power projects and has supported a power development plan in Vietnam that would prioritize clean energy.

The company has also at times provided financial support to human rights activists through work with the Fund for Global Human Rights.

By Stephen Nellis – Reuters – April 11, 2024

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