Vietnam Bars Officials Invited to World Economic Forum Event

(Bloomberg) -- Two human rights officials invited to attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN this week in Hanoi were denied entry to Vietnam.

Debbie Stothard, secretary general of the International Federation for Human Rights, was turned away on Sunday after landing in the Vietnamese capital, World Economic Forum spokesperson Fon Mathuros said in a statement. Amnesty International said on Monday that Minar Pimple, its senior director of global operations, was also refused an entry visa.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

“We condemn this decision to stifle debate from a regular contributor to the WEF who has spoken at the highest levels on human rights issues around the world,” Amnesty’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “This comes at a time when freedom of expression is under deep threat in Vietnam. The government’s actions undermine an event that depends on a plurality of views, and they are giving Asean a bad name.”

The World Economic Forum had been notified by Vietnam that Pimple’s visa request had been denied, Mathuros said by email.

The three-day event, which begins Tuesday, will be attended by representatives from multinational companies and government leaders, including Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines.

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