On April 24, 2022, the Brotherhood for Democracy in the UK celebrated the 9th anniversary of the establishment of the Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD) on April 24, 2013 – April 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by Human Rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai – President of BFD, BFD Leaders in the UK and more than 60 members and the Vietnamese community in the UK.
At the ceremony, President Nguyen Van Dai reaffirmed the role of BFD in the struggle to protect human rights for all Vietnamese people in the country while promoting the democratization process for Vietnam, abolishing the Communist dictatorship with a goal of building a fair, democratic and civilized society.
In addition, President Nguyen Van Dai said BFD is actively involved in humanitarian charity in Vietnam. “Before being banned in Vietnam, the Brotherhood for Democracy had many humanitarian programs in Vietnam,” he said.
Regarding foreign affairs, President Nguyen Van Dai emphasized that BFD is one of the organizations with the most extensive relations with governments around the world, especially the governments of Germany, the United States, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, France and the European Union.
In supporting prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, he said, BFD has mobilized many international organizations to financially support members in the country on the cost of lawyers as well as costs for families of prisoners of conscience. In 2021 alone, BFD raised about $100,000.
During the ceremony, Mr. Duc Tran, a member of BFD in the UK since 2019, shared his thoughts and feelings about becoming a BFD member. He affirmed that “joining BFD has helped him learn many useful things as well as many experiences in the movement to fight for democracy and human rights for Vietnam”, and he realized that the only way for people to have a prosperous and happy life, a strong Vietnam is to change the political regime in Vietnam.
Moreover, Mr. Duc Tran also condemned the Vietnamese authorities for sentencing a series of Vietnamese activists without accessing to a lawyer or having a fair trial – this goes against the international human right law. In particular, Ms. Pham Doan Trang, one of the people who has been honoured by many international organisations as well as democratic liberal countries with a series of human rights awards, was sentenced to nine years in prison by the authorities.
Although she was unable to attend the celebration, Lan Pham, Vice President of BFD – currently living and working in Australia, also sent a very meaningful message to all members of BFD through a short video.
“In April each year, there was a lot of emotion in my heart, and April 2018 was an unfair trial for the leaders and for the members of the Brotherhood for Democracy, which is a painful memory every time I think back. […] I am very fortunate and proud to be a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy”, she said.
For years, Vietnam’s communist government has persecuted human rights and democracy activists in Vietnam, and BFD members are no exception. BFD is one of the two organisations in Vietnam with the highest number of members detained by the authorities in Vietnam. So far, at least 12 members of BFD have been detained by the Vietnamese authorities.
This report is written in Vietnamese by DUC TRAN, translated by CHI NGUYEN.
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