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Vietnam denies entry to rights advocates invited to WEF

AFP  |  Hanoi 

has denied entry to two prominent rights campaigners invited to attend this week's in Hanoi, as the one-party communist state continues its hard line on critics of its dismal rights record.

Leaders from International and the (FIDH) were both barred from entering for the meeting, the campaign groups said.

FIDH was held at for 15 hours after arriving on Sunday before being deported to early the next morning.

Her "arbitrary detention" was "based on the absurd accusation that she poses a threat to Vietnam's national security", Andrea Giorgetta, Desk, told in a statement.

said its was also denied a visa to attend the WEF summit, which will host regional leaders and big names from global business.

"We condemn this decision to stifle debate... this comes at a time when freedom of expression is under deep threat in Vietnam," Amnesty's said in a statement Monday.

did not respond to AFP's request for comment.

The communist country routinely jails activist, lawyers and bloggers, but a tough new administration in power since 2016 has been accused of upping the ante on its critics.

Around 40 activists have been convicted so far this year on charges ranging from acting against the state to disturbing public order, including three American citizens, according to an tally.

says that as of April this year there were 97 known activists behind bars.

Yet Vietnam is trying to boost its diplomatic profile, hosting a slew of dignitaries and summits -- including the (APEC) meeting last year attended by US

But with trade on the table, critics say its allies -- including -- are not pressuring Vietnam's leadership enough to protect human rights and free expression.

A for WEF confirmed that Stothard and Pimple had both been denied entry to the meeting, but that their invitations to the forum remained in place.

The on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) opens in on Tuesday under the official banner of 'Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution'.

Indonesian Joko Widodo, Myanmar's de facto leader -- under fire overseas for her reaction to the Rohingya crisis -- and South Korea's are among the guests.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, September 10 2018. 14:20 IST