On December 12, 2021, Brotherhood for Democracy in the UK organised a conference on Human Rights on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of International Human Rights Day December 10, 1948 December 10, 2021. The seminar had the presence of Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, chairman of the Brotherhood for Democracy and nearly 80 members of the Brotherhood for Democracy from all over the UK.
MC Hoang began the conference by reviewing the human rights situation in Vietnam. He declared that in the 1945 Declaration of Independence, President Ho Chi Minh took the American Declaration of Independence to express the human rights of our Vietnamese people, which is stated “everyone is born with equal rights and they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights which are the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to the pursuit of happiness.”
However, the human rights situation in Vietnam in recent years has become worse and worse. Basic human rights, typically the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to form associations, to form a party, and to protest, are all suppressed by the Vietnamese government. Many activists, journalists, and righteous advocates have been persecuted by the authorities under Penal Code articles 117 and 331 in 2015, including many members of the Brotherhood for Democracy.
Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who had a first presentation at this conference, emphasised the goal of the Brotherhood for Democracy in protecting and promoting “human rights in Vietnam in the spirit of the Vietnamese Constitution and international treaties”, also promoting the democratization of Vietnam, moving towards “abolishing the dictatorship to build a multi-party democracy in Vietnam” and demanding that the Communist dictatorship of Vietnam unconditional release of prisoners of conscience.
He said “In any country where the noble values of human rights are respected, that country will do its best” and affirmed that if in Vietnam there is a multi-party, liberal media and free elections, surely the Communist Party will not be able to survive.
At this conference, everyone also had the opportunity to listen to the confessions from relatives of prisoners of conscience – Ms. Trang, wife of engineer Pham Van Troi, founder of Brotherhood for Democracy as well as video Nguyen Thuy Hanh’s sharing about the difficulties and certain successes in building the “50K fund” – a support fund for the families of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam.
Besides that, this seminar is also a good opportunity for some young members to express their thoughts on the human rights situation in Vietnam. Hieu Nguyen, who is one of the youngest members of the Brotherhood for Democracy, presented about the right to freedom of expression in Vietnam and solutions to fight for it. She said that “many bloggers, human rights defenders and online activists in Vietnam not only face the constant threat of arbitrary arrest and prosecution, but they are also subject to threats of brutal assault, being tracked, and online harassment, bullying, and insults for family members.”
At the end of the seminar, all participants signed a petition with a request to release Ms. Nguyen Thuy Hanh, Ms. Pham Doan Trang, Ms. Tran Thi Xuan, Mr. Le Chi Thanh and Mr. Nguyen Van Duc Do. These are prisoners who are being held by the authoritarian communist state of Vietnam just for exercising their basic human rights, speaking out against the injustice of the regime as well as fighting for human equality. This petition letter was sent to the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc by post on December 15, 2021.
To read this article in Vietnamese, please click here.