Press Release

December 10, 2023.




Toronto, Canada - December 10, 2023. The 2023 Vietnam Human Rights Award Ceremony was solemnly held at the Grand Luxe Event Hall in Toronto City, Canada, on the afternoon of December 10, 2023, on the 75th International Human Rights Day. The event was organized by the cooperation of the Vietnam Human Rights Network (VHRN) with the Committee to Support Vietnam’s Human Rights and Democracy Movement in Toronto and sponsored by 9 Vietnamese organizations worldwide and 12 Vietnamese organizations in Canada.

Even though the weather in Toronto had turned cold and humid, about 250 compatriots and guests still arrived early and occupied all the seats in the hall. Among the participants were many delegations from as far away as California, Montreal, Ottawa, and Saskatoon. Also present were Federal members of Parliament Judy Sgro and Kevin Vuong and Member of Provincial Parliament David Smith.

After the opening ceremony, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Duy, Head of the Organizing Committee, began the program with a welcome speech. He also summarized the purpose and the history of the Human Rights Award over the past 21 years.

Next was a speech by Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung, Head of the Executive Board of the VHRN, on the meaning of the theme of the 75th International Human Rights Day proposed by the United Nations: “Freedom, Equality, and Justice for All.” He emphasized that although communist Vietnam has joined and committed to respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, systematic inequality and discrimination not only still exist in all areas of social activities but have been getting worse and worse. It is the monopoly leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam that has created a class with many privileges and pushed the majority of the masses into the bottom line of oppression. Many people have stood up for Freedom, Equality, and Justice, and they were oppressed, tortured, and imprisoned. The three people honored and awarded the Vietnam Human Rights Award this year, Mr. Tran Van Bang, Mr. Y Wô Nie, and Mr. Le Trong Hung are exemplary examples.

The award presentation ceremony took place in a solemn but cherishable setting.

After each commendation, the audience watched the speech of relative representing the laureate through video from Vietnam broadcast on the big screen. The simple words of prisoner Tran Van Bang’s 93-year-old mother, the Vietnamese pronunciation mixed with the E-de ethnic accent of prisoner Y Wô Nie’s wife, as well as the sincere words of prisoner Le Trong Hung’s disabled wife, created a deep emotion for the entire hall.

Some special guests then took to the podium to express their admiration for the award recipients’ courage to fight for human rights and dignity. Canadian politicians, in particular, have expressed their determination to support Vietnam’s human rights advocacy and democratization.

The ceremony was warmed up with several unique musical performances by the sponsoring organizations while compatriots enjoyed an afternoon meal hosted by the Organizing Committee. Many attending compatriots shared their concern about the tragic human rights situation in their homeland and their sympathy for the plight of human rights activists. However, they still believed in a bright tomorrow in which Vietnamese people’s human dignity and rights must be respected, protected, and promoted.

The Vietnam Human Rights Award was established by the VHRN in 2002 to commend individuals or organizations who have made outstanding achievements in fighting for the human rights of the Vietnamese people. The award also aims to create opportunities for Vietnamese people everywhere to express solidarity with those individuals and groups. Since its founding, the award ceremony has been held continuously every year on International Human Rights Day in many parts of the world. Through 21 years, 60 individuals and 6 organizations in Vietnam have received the award.



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