A Brief Report on

The Vietnam Human Rights Network (VHRN) 6th Congress

VHRN 6th International Congress was held in Little Saigon, Southern California, from Dec. 5 to Dec. 7, 2003. It began with a fund raising and human rights working dinner on the evening of Dec. 7, 2003 and a speech by Dr. Lam Thu Van, Deputy Chair of the VHRN Coordinating Committee, on the current condition of freedom of speech in Vietnam, and the need from overseas support for the struggle for freedom of press in the country. Among some 300 participants were representatives of the Vietnamese Student General Association in Southern California, the Involved Youth Network, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Visual Artists Guild, elected officials such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Ed Royce, Garden Grove and Westminster Mayors Pro Tem Tran Thai Van and Andy Quach, Lawyer Nguyen Quoc Lan of the Orange County Board of School District, Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem, etc...

An introduction was made for the collection of writings by 14 well known Human Rights activists in Vietnam, including MM. Nguyen Vu Binh, Pham Que Duong, Nguyen Thanh Giang, Nguyen Dinh Huy, Tran Khue, Ha Si Phu, Le Chi Quang, Vu Cao Quan, Nguyen Dan Que, Bui Minh Quoc, Pham Hong Son, Tran Dung Tien, Nguyen Khac Toan, and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Xuan.

During the following two days of assembly on Saturday Dec. 6 and Sunday Dec. 7, 2003, many activities were performed, ranging from speeches on and strategies for freedom of press in Vietnam,

future projects, joining the students in their Human Rights activities, to exchange of experiences for better enhancement of Human Rights activities and on lobbying with the United States Congress , especially for the Human Rights Bill, and lively discussions and debates among participants on a variety of critical Human Rights issues. A solemn ceremony took place at the conclusion of the Congress to commend and offer 2003 Human Rights awards to 4 young and courageous freedom fighters in Vietnam: Lawyer Le Chi Quang, Dr. Pham Hong Son, journalists Nguyen Vu Binh and Nguyen Khac Toan, all of them are being held in custody by the Vietnamese communist authorities. Their awards were received in absentia by their designated acquaintances abroad.

A new management was selected for the 2003-2005 term, consisting of:

Coordinating Committee:

- Chairman: Prof. Nguyen Thanh Trang (retained after three consecutive terms)

- Vice Chair, in charge of Central office: Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh

- Vice Chair, in charge of Canada: Dr. Lam Thu Van

- Vice Chair, in charge of activities besides the United Nations: Ms. Nguyen Hong Lien

- Vice Chair, in charge of finances: Mr. Doan Viet Trung

- Vice Chair, in charge of activities besides European Parliament: Dr. Ngo Van Tuan

- General Secretary: Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung

- Treasurer: Mr. Pham Manh Nam

Regional representatives:

- Southern California: Prof. Lưu Trung Khảo.

- Northern California: Mr. Huỳnh Lương Thiện.

- Arizona: Mr. Nguyễn Ngọc Anh.

- Texas : Mr. Dao Chi Nhan

- Washington DC: Lawyer Lê Chi Thảo.

- Florida: Dr. Nguyễn Văn Lương.

- Canada: Dr. Trương Minh Tri

- Australia: Mr. Đ̣an Viết Trung.

- Europe: Mr. Nguyen Van Hoa


- Dr. Nguyễn Tiến Cảnh, Mr. Đỗ Anh Tài, Mrs. Đào Bích Liên, Mr. Đỗ Như Diên, Mr. Phạm Van Sinh.


- Dr. Nguyễn Tường Bách, Mr. Phạm Ngọc Lũy, Lawyer Nguyễn Hữu Thống, Dr. Nguyễn Quốc Quân, Mrs. Jackie Bong Wright, Mr. Vơ Văn Ái, Dr. Bui Trọng Cường, Prof. Đ̣an Viết Họat, Rev. Nguyễn Hữu Lễ, Mr. Nguyễn Minh Cần, Poet Nguyễn Chi Thiện, Lawyer Lâm Lễ Trinh.






ON 5, 6, AND 7 DECEMBER 2003

The objectives of the Congress were to:

- Survey the violations of Human Rights in Vietnam , especially the freedom of speech;

- Review the Network's activities; and

- Propose strategies and financial needs for the 2003-2005 term.

The entire Congress, considering that:

- Despite the opposition during the past years by the Vietnamese communities abroad, governments of the free world and international Human Rights organizations, the Vietnamese communist authorities, instead of decreasing their oppression, have continued to commit more violations of Human Rights, typically against the Montagnards, through arrestation, imprisonment, and harassment;

- According to Article 19 of the International Declaration on Human Rights, everyone has the rights to enjoy freedoms of thoughts and expression including the rights to be free of all external interference;

- The Vietnamese authorities have shamlessly violated the International Declaration on Human Rights and their own Constitution through their arrests and convictions of Father Nguyen Van Ly's relatives, Dr. Nguyen Vu Binh, Lawyer Le Chi Quang, Dr. Pham Hong Son, journalist Nguyen Khac Toan, and so on... because of their courageous expression of their opinions on Human Rights and other critical issues of the country and the people;


- To demand the Vietnamese communist authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those they are holding in custody unjustly ;

- To demand the Vietnamese communist authorities to respect and enforce Human Rights, especially in regards to freedom of speech;

- To continue to support and work for democracy and freedom in Vietnam, especially for the safety of those being currently held or under house arrest for their demanding Human Rights and democracy;

- To request international governments and Human Rights organizations to pressure the government in Hanoi into respecting Human Rights, especially Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.

Made in Little Saigon, Southern California, 12-7-2003

For the VHRN 6th Congress,

Nguyen Thanh Trang

Chairman of the Coordinating Committee


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