US to raise Vietnam human rights

US to raise Vietnam human rights

US to raise Vietnam human rights

Updated 30 March 2012, 14:00 AEDT

The United States is expected to raise concerns over Vietnam's human rights record when President Nguyen Minh Triet visits Washington this year.

Speaking on a three-day visit to Vietnam, US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, Eric John, said there has been "significant forward progress" in US-Vietnam relations.

But he says the US is concerned over the recent spate of arrests of people critical of Hanoi.

Mr John says there is particular concerns about the eight-year jail sentence given to the pro-democracy Catholic activist, Father Nguyen Van Ly last month.

"Vietnam has reached a level of development where it should be confident enough to allow the space necessary for a greater political discourse," Mr John told reporters in Hanoi.

There is growing pressure within the United States for the Bush administration to take a tougher line against Hanoi on human rights, with prominent senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy among those who have voiced concern.