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Vietnam Human Rights Network Holds 2nd Congress

The Vietnam Human Rights Network (Vietnam Human Rights Network - new name for Vietnam Human Rights Coalition) held its second congress in Santa Ana, Southern California, on October 17-18, 1998, attended by about 50 members coming from Europe, Canada, and a number of states around the United States. The purpose of the event was to plan a series of strategic objectives, including the expansion of knowledge of human rights and understanding of human rights principles among the people in Vietnam, coordination of human rights activities with international organizations (especially those run by victims of dictatorships), and increase of human rights movements both inside and outside the country.

Following the opening address by Mr. Nguyen Thanh Ha, organizer of the event and also chairman of the Human Right for Vietnam Movement - Year 2000, were reports by 11 prominent representatives of their past activities and a short but impressive speech on the necessity to continue fighting for human rights in Vietnam by Dr. Nguyen Tuong Bach. Dr. Nguyen is a senior revolutionary well known for his long fight for freedom of Vietnam and now an advisor to the Vietnam Human Rights Network.

Human rights topics were then addressed by three guests: Mr. Denney of the Berkeley University Southeast Research Institute and Amnesty International; Mr. Vu Quoc Dung of the Human Rights Association of Germany in Europe; and Prof. Nguyen Ngoc Bich of the Free Asia Radio in Washington. The topics created a hot discussion afterward, concluded by the welcome speech by Mr. Nguyen Thanh Trang, Coordinator of the Vietnam Human Rights Network. After reading Prof. Doan Viet Hoat's letter, in which the recently-freed prisoner of conscience urged for the dissolution of the Vietnamese Communist regime and abolishment of possible sources of a future dictatorship, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Trang also talked briefly about the Network's first year significant results, for which Mr. Nguyen Huu Thong, Esq. (San Jose) and Mr. Bui Quang Lam (Phoenix) were particularly commended by all participants.

The afternoon agenda was partly covered by projects and ideas offered by Ms. Do Thi Thuan (editor of Non Song, a student magazine), Dr. Do Hung (Chairman of Bureau of Human Rights in San Jose, CA), Mr. Nguyen Anh Giao (San Diego, CA), Mr. Le Minh Nguyen (Long Beach, CA), Mr. Ngo Van Hieu (Torrance), and Mr. Do Anh Tai; and partly covered by suggestions for a needed reorganization and improved efficiency of the Network given by Dr. Lam Thu Van and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Ha. A vote was taken, by which Mr. Nguyen Thanh Trang was re-elected Coordinator (against his refusal).

The following day, 2 future activities were discussed relating to the Vietnam Human Rights Day (11 May 1999) and the International Human Rights Day (10 December 1998). Lawyer Nguyen Huu Thong also suggested a "national policy", which aims at arming the people in Vietnam with a sound knowledge of human rights, be adopted to mark the 50th Anniversary of the International Human Rights Day.

After the new Coordinating Committee was presented to the congress, a resolution was passed as a guideline for coming activities. Mr. Pham Ngoc Luy, a senior Vietnam Human Rights Network advisor coming from Virginia, concluded the two-day conference with a moving solid prediction of the eventual success of the human rights movement.

The New Coordinating Committee for 1998-1999

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