Re: Projects of bauxite mining in Central Highlands of Vietnam

Hà Nội, June 11,  2009

Professor Nguyễn Huệ Chi

Writer Phạm Toàn

Professor Nguyễn Thế Hùng

To: The Representatives of UNDP, WHO, UNIDO, UNICEF and UNESCO in Vietnam.

Re: Projects of bauxite mining in Central Highlands of Vietnam ; Re: Projects of bauxite mining in Central Highlands of Vietnam

First of all we would like to apologize for not sending this letter directly to your offices. The reason for this is simple: we do not have the right to communicate directly with you in that manner. Furthermore, we do not wish to interfere with the good relations between you and your counterparts in the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 

First of all we would like to introduce ourselves: we are the persons in charge of the webpage, writing on behalf of its supporters and contributors. This webpage was set up after 135 Vietnamese academics and professionals residing both in Vietnam and abroad put their names to a Petition on April 12, 2009, urging the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to stop the bauxite mining project in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, or at least to subject it to full public discussion in the Vietnamese Parliament. 

Since that date, more than 2000 persons have signed the petition. General Võ Nguyên Giáp did not sign it but is fully aware of it and has sent three letters to the highest ranking persons and offices of the Vietnamese Government. In these letters General Giáp, as a person who held responsibilities in this area and was familiar with the associated problems since the 1980s, pleaded for a definitive stop to the project, including an end to all activities at so-called "test sites". 

Our website provides comprehensive and unbiased information that hopefully helps make the right decisions in matters that will affect the environment, public health, the national economy and even national defence. Unfortunately, being mostly in Vietnamese, our website is unlikely to have come to your attention. For that reason we are sending this letter to briefly inform you about these events and circumstances. 

We respectfully ask you to read the English translation of our Petition at the following link: . Please ask your specialist staff to report on the contents of More importantly, please do everything in your power to influence the Vietnamese authorities so that they actively seek out opinions and inputs from the public, instead of single mindedly proceeding with the project, ignoring numerous warnings from Vietnamese academics and professionals. 

The United Nations have granted millions of dollars into Vietnam to help its sustainable development, for which we are grateful. In contrast, this multi-billion dollar project has been embarked upon without proper attention being paid to the physical and social environments, to basic economics and to the principles of sustainable development. The project was started in a secretive manner with almost no public discussion and without any debate from the Vietnamese National Assembly , yet it will cause huge upheavals to the environment, huge quantities of red mud waste which is difficult to safely dispose of in Vietnam's climate, and the displacement of large numbers of indigenous people. It involves several other associated mega-projects such as a new railways line linking the highland to the sea, a new seaport, possibly a nuclear power plant to provide electricity for an aluminium smelter, all of which carry unknown environmental and economic risks that have not been properly investigated. These projects therefore constitute a serious  threat to the achievements to date of international agencies such as UNDP, WHO, UNIDO, UNICEF and UNESCO in Viet Nam, in the areas of economic and cultural development, education, environmental protection, health, cultural heritage, the future of our children, etc

We trust that you will agree with our concerns and do everything in your power to help us and our country in this matter, and would like to thank you in advance for your concern.

Sincerely yours,

Nguyễn Huệ Chi

Phạm Toàn

Nguyễn Thế Hùng


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