Welcoming Speech 


by Dr Tung Nguyen, Secretary General of Vietnam Human Rights Network


Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Vietnam Human Rights Network I would like to welcome you at this International Human Rights Day commemoration and also the third Vietnam Human Rights Award presentation. First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming, especially the awardees’ family and friends, government elective officials, representatives of religious, political and community-based organizations.

Fifty-six years ago, on December 10, 1948, by adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations declared that human rights are “those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings.”

The growth in support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over the past fifty-six years reaffirmed its universality. All 197 members of the United Nations, including the  Socialist Republic of Vietnam have endorsed those rights.

However, despite being a signatory to  several international human rights instruments, Vietnam communists continues to show complete disrespect to basic civil and political social rights of their citizens.

Today, while celebrating the 56th anniversary of a testament to human dignity, tolerance, and pluralism, we must denounce the Vietnamese government’s continual use of violence and terror against its population’s basic rights. We urge the international community to take strong stand with regard to undermining human rights for the sake of national security and economic development interests.

The meeting today also provides an opportunity for the Vietnam Human Rights Network to publicly commend the achievements and outstanding contribution of those who have been defending human rights at great costs: imprisonment, torture and even death. This year the award has a particular significance because it focuses on the right to free speech, a fundamental building block of free society. Two award recipients today, Dr Nguyen Dan Que and former Colonel Pham Que Duong, are the best to embody this utmost value. Materially, the award doesn’t come too much, but it stands for Vietnamese people’s highest respect to those who have bravely fought  for human dignity and freedom.

Through this public recognition of the valuable work of the awardees, the Vietnam Human Rights Network also pays tribute to the thousands of anonymous human rights advocates and defenders involved daily in the difficult and often perilous work to promote and protect the Vietnamese people’s fundamental rights.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my most heartfelt appreciation to everyone for supporting the Vietnam Human Rights Network, especially elective officials in the US government at all levels and dear friends from partner human rights organizations. Without your help, we could not have advanced those just causes. Please help us to make the distant dream of a humane and peaceful Vietnam to be a reality.

Thank you all very much.


Vietnam Human Rights Network
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