Dec 07, 2019
VNHRN Organized the 71st International Human Rights Day and the 18th Vietnam Human Rights Award Ceremony
Ottawa, Canada (12/07/2019) - Vietnam Human Rights Network solemnly organized the 71st anniversary of the International Human Rights Day and the 18th Vietnam Human Rights Awards Ceremony in the Senate of Canada at 1 PM on Saturday, December 07, 2019.
About 150 fellow Vietnamese refugees and community based organizations’ representatives attended the ceremony. Also joined the event were a number of Canadian Parliament senator and representatives. Because the Canadian Parliament's security procedure requires attendees to register in advance, many compatriots who registered late were not allowed to attend. The event was scheduled at 1 PM; however, the attendees had already filled the hall half an hour earlier. Most of them were residents from Toronto and Montreal, 450 kilometers and 200 km from Ottawa respectively.
Following the opening ceremony, the program started with a welcome speech by Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung, President of the VNHRN. After reiterating the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vietnamese Communist’s blatant violation of their own commitments, he said, “Today's reunion is also an opportunity for us to look back to our homeland where our compatriots, especially human rights fighters, are day and night embarking on a painstaking and courageous battle to regain human rights, among them this year's award recipients: Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, human rights activist Nguyen Dang Minh Man, and lawyer Le Cong Dinh are commendable examples. ”
The event reached its climax with the commendation and award presentation. In both Vietnamese and English, members of the organizing committee took turns reading the award recipients’ achievements in human rights activism and their enduring hardships. Then the VNHRN’s president and two members of the Canadian Parliament presented the plaques symbolizing the 2019 VNHR award to the award winners’ representatives.
After each commendation, the audience was excited watching the award recipients and their representative sharing their impression through the videos played on the big screen. They include Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton's wife, on behalf of her husband who is serving a 12-year sentence at Gia Trung Detention Center, Gia Lai Province; Nguyen Dang Minh Man, the longest serving female prisoner of conscience and was just being released from prison in August 2019; and Attorney Le Cong Dinh, who has sacrificed his glorious future for the cause of freedom, human rights, and democracy for Vietnam.
A number of special guests were invited to speak, including Pierre Poilievre, MP and former minister, representing the Conservative Party leadership; Senator Ngo Thanh Hai, Liberal MP Chandra Arya; Mr. Ludwik Klimkowski, President of Tribute to Liberty, and Mr. Vu Hoang Hai, Representative of Bloc 8406 in the United States.
Many local dignitaries expressed their delight at participating in the VNHRA Ceremony held at the center of the political power of Canada, a young country, but with a solid tradition of democracy and human rights. However, such enthusiasm did not overshadow the concerns about the Vietnamese Communist Party’s intensification of persecution against courageous people who peacefully raised their voice for territorial integrity, social justice, and basic rights.
VNHRA was founded in 2002 with the purpose of providing recognition to the individual and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the peaceful promotion of human rights in Vietnam. It is also an opportunity for Vietnamese in the Diaspora to show their solidarity with those who have engaged in the relentless fighting for Vietnamese people’s basic rights. Since its establishment, the VNHRA has been presented to 47 individuals and 4 organizations in Vietnam. In addition to the award plaque, VNHRA also comes with a cash prize of $ 3000 for each recipient.