Germany alarmed by detention of Vietnamese climate activist, warns against coal phase-out pact with Hanoi

BERLIN (AP) — The German government said on Wednesday it was concerned about the recent detention of a prominent environmental activist in Vietnam, warning that a recent multibillion-dollar deal to help the country phase out the Charcoal use requires the involvement of civil society activists.

Hoang Thi Minh Hong was arrested by police in Ho Chi Minh City last week and detained on a temporary order charged with tax evasion, the UN Human Rights Office said, citing credible sources. He said Hoang is the fifth prominent environmental activist arrested in Vietnam for alleged tax evasion in the past two years.

The German Foreign Ministry said the arrests of Hoang and others “are an alarming signal for civil society actors across the country, as well as for environmental and climate protection.”

“We also view the arrest with a critical eye regarding the upcoming implementation of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreed between Vietnam and G7 countries Denmark and Norway,” he said. he declared.

The agreement reached at the end of 2022 saw the two Nordic countries and the wealthy industrialized countries of the Group of Seven commit $15.5 billion to help Vietnam accelerate its transition from coal to renewable energy.

The deal aims to help the Southeast Asian country reduce its emissions to “net zero” by 2050, a target that experts say must be met globally to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

It is one of many agreements that developing and wealthy countries are negotiating to achieve global climate goals. The first such deal was signed with South Africa in 2021, and a similar deal was struck with Indonesia last year.

The Foreign Office said the involvement of civil society in the process was “explicitly anchored in the agreement with Vietnam at the request of the German government”.

“Climate and environmental protectors such as Hoang Thi Minh Hong play an indispensable role,” he said.

Germany itself has come under fire for recent police raids on climate activists that have regularly disrupted traffic across the country.

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