Independent Panel Confirms That Immediate Action by the Vietnamese Government is Required to Shut Down Wildlife Trafficking Networks in Viet Nam


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, November 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

An independent panel has confirmed the findings of a year-long investigation into wildlife trafficking hub, Nhi Khe, Viet Nam, and confirms that immediate action by the Vietnamese government is required. In doing so, the panel reminds the Vietnamese government to fulfil its obligations under the relevant international conventions.

     (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161117/440702 )

The recommendations follow a two day Public Hearing on the Wildlife Justice Commission's investigation into wildlife trafficking hub Nhi Khe, Viet Nam (just 20km from Hanoi). The Panel were presented with findings on 51 individuals, including undercover footage, financial flows and bank accounts, operating transnationally and with impunity, in rhino, elephant, tiger and other endangered species both via shops and social media.

Findings were presented to Vietnamese authorities in January 2016 and supplementary information, after ongoing monitoring, in August 2016. Despite extensive diplomatic effort, very little action was taken, with only one known recent arrest as a consequence of the findings presented.

The esteemed independent panel consisted of international criminal justice and corruption experts. The Vietnamese government chose not to participate in the Public Hearing opting only to send a non-participating observer. Over 300 people attended the Public Hearing in person, plus a large global audience followed via Livestream in Vietnamese and English (including significant numbers in Viet Nam) and through live social media updates.

The panel unanimously validated the investigation findings and issued concrete recommendations for the Vietnamese government.

Governments gathering today in Hanoi for the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference, are being asked by the Wildlife Justice Commission to act on these recommendations.

Wildlife Justice Commission Executive Director, Olivia Swaak-Goldman, says, "Some of the most respected voices in tackling international crime have spoken. Their package of recommendations is comprehensive, and it includes what we have long asked for: That the international community support Vietnamese authorities to institute criminal proceedings of a scale consistent with the massive volume of trade in illicit wildlife products in Nhi Khe- and the consequent slaughter of iconic species taking place in Africa to fuel these traffickers' activities and line their pockets. There is no better time to act than now, with all eyes on Hanoi."

For the full version of the press release please click here.

Media| E: media@wildlifejustice.org | T: +31-70-205-1050 | @WJCommission | wildlifejustice.org | Letitia Tudor