Greetings to our respected guests, colleagues and fellow activists,
First of all, please let me on behalf of the Democracy Brotherhood (AEDC) thank you for being here with us, you who represent the international diplomatic corps in Hanoi, my colleagues from other associations like No U FC, Hoang Sa FC, Vietnam Blogger Network and my fellow activists in the Democracy Brotherhood (AEDC).
Today, we are gathered here to celebrate the International Human Rights Day.
December 10 every year and in every country the International Human Rights Day celebrates the United Nation’s Human Rights Charter Declaration.
On this day in 1948, Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady of the United States represented the United Nations to read out the historical declaration of the Human Rights Charter in Paris, France.
Then on December 4, 1950 on the 317th general assembly, the United Nations officially adopted December 10 as the yearly Human Rights Day.
The basic rights of human beings are to be valued and respected all over the world, as it has been stipulated in the Declaration of Human Rights Charter, as agreed in all International Conventions on the definition of Human Rights, and signed by all U.N. member states who are bound to uphold them, Vietnam included when it joined the U.N. on September 12, 1982.
This is also an occasion for us to commemorate those who have sacrificed themselves to protect Human Rights, those who have been or still are victims of Human Rights violation, and those imprisoned for fighting for Human Rights, and we also think of their loved ones.
While in practically every country in the world, the people are enjoying the most basic rights of human beings, in Vietnam, only counting since 2006 to present day, there has been nearly 200 people incarcerated, tried and sentenced from 2 to life imprisonment for having exercised their most basic rights like the freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of political non-violent activities… On top of this, there have been many cases of the ethnic Highland minorities like the E-De, Gia Rai, M’Nong, Ba Na and the H’Mong in the North West who have been imprisoned from 2 to 18 years for their fight to protect their freedom of religions and beliefs. There are scores of cases of religion or rights activists who are not imprisoned but are regularly victims of campaigns of harassment, smear and discriminations… There are also many people who were arrested and conducted to police precincts in good form, but several hours later they came out feet first, or with bruises and injuries all over for the luckier ones.
While we are here to celebrate this day of the International Human Rights Charter, some 100 of our friends are being imprisoned for exercising their rights and for fighting to protect human rights of others.
We are citizens of Vietnam, and we are citizens of the United Nations. It’s the United Nations’ responsibility to protect and to promote Human Rights, and it’s the government of each member state to uphold them as it is the human rights organisations as well as every citizen’s responsibility to respect and exercise them.
On January 1st, 2014, Vietnam officially takes up seat in the U.N.’s Human Rights Council for a 3 years term. This is an opportunity and a challenge for us to pull ourselves together in the fights to improve the Human Rights situation in Vietnam.
On this occasion of the International Human Rights Day, together we are appealing to the governments of countries, to the international organisations, and to all concerned by the Human Rights conditions in Vietnam. Please voice your demand to the Vietnamese government to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Please exhort the Vietnamese government to respect and uphold the Human Rights Convention to which they have agreed in respect of the international community and the Vietnamese people.
Now, please let me invite you all to stand up and during one minute of silence, please let us think of all the victims of Human Rights violations, and let us pray for those who are imprisoned for their fight for or for their exercise of the basic rights of a human being.
Thank you very much to our guests today. I wish you all good health and may God bless us all.