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Press release




International Human Rights Day Commemoration and the 2013 Vietnam Human Rights Award Ceremony Held in Paris, France


Paris – 12/08/2013. The Vietnam Human Rights Network (VNHRN), in collaboration with the French-Vietnamese Mutual Assistance Association (L’Association France-Vietnam d’Entraide, AFVE) and several Vietnamese refugee organizations from many parts of the world, held a commemoration of the 65th International Human Rights Day and the 2013 Vietnam Human Rights Award Ceremony in Paris, France. This year's award ceremony also received special support from two international human rights organizations based in Paris - Reporters Without Borders and Lawyers Without Borders. [See video report by SBTN]

The ceremony was solemnly held at the Raspail Performing Arts Studio in the heart of Paris. In addition to guests and fellow Vietnamese living in Paris and surrounding areas, many participants came from the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Germany, and the remote provinces of France. After the welcoming speech by Mr. Bui Xuan Quang, Head of the Organizing Committee, Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung, VNHRN Chair, spoke to the gathering. He stressed: “On this historic day, we turn our attention to the human rights activists who have engaged in an arduous and courageous struggle to bring about human rights for the people of Vietnam, of which the three laureates of this year’s VN Human Rights Award, lawyer Le Quoc Quan, Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, and Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, are prime examples.”

The highlight of the ceremony was the recognition of the Laureates and the awards presentation to their representatives. Ms. Ca Dao, a member of the Vietnamese Labor Organization, on behalf of Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, received the honor plaque from Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung after the citation reading by Dr. Nguyen Van Tran. Mr. Benjamin Ismaïl, Reporters Without Borders’ Head of the Asia-Pacific Desk, honored Lawyer Le Quoc Quan; and Barrister Nathalie Muller-Saraillier of Lawyers Without Borders, based in France, accepted the Award from Prof. Nguyen Thanh Trang on behalf of lawyer Le Quoc Quan. Dr. Pham Huu Trac read the citation of Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc. Mr. Bui Xuan Quang, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, presented the Award to Mr. Nguyen Quoc Tuan and Ms. Vuong Quynh Nhu, two of Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s fellow human rights advocates.

Attendees listened attentively to the recorded speeches from the Laureates’ family members: Mr. Nguyen Kim Hoang, Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung’s father; Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hien, Lawyer Le Quoc Quan’s wife; and Mr. Tran Van Huynh, father of Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc. They all expressed exultancy over the recognitions of their relatives’ sacrifices by overseas compatriots. They expressed anticipation that support from their overseas countrymen and world opinion would continue so that the Vietnamese people would soon enjoy human rights, freedom and democracy, and especially that justice would soon be restored for the three jailed Laureates.

Some of the guests who were invited to share their thoughts included Ms. Thu Suong from the Overseas Patriotic Youths; Prof. Nguyen Dang Truc, Chairman of Nguyen Truong To Cultural Centre; and Prof. Do Manh Tri representing Friends of Nguyen Chi Thien Group in Paris. Notably, the Organizing Committee replayed the speech of Blogger Huynh Thuc Vy who represents the Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, a human rights organization that had been formed inside Vietnam the week before. After congratulating the 2013 Vietnam Human Rights Award Laureates, Ms. Huynh Thuc Vy summarized the reasons behind the formation of the organization and its goals, which is to fight for human rights, especially for the rights of Vietnamese women. She also called for support and cooperation from overseas compatriots for this young organization that is full of potential.

Because this year’s International Human Rights Day was held soon after the election of Communist Vietnam to the UN Human Rights Council, the VNHRN, through Prof. Nguyen Thanh Trang, issued a statement demanding that the Vietnamese Communist Government respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights conventions that it has signed, immediately cease all forms of terror against the people, and rescind all rules contrary to the United Nations Charter and international laws.

The 2013 VNHR Award Ceremony was further augmented by the introduction of the Sidewalk Reporter Prize (Prix du Reporter de Rue) and the presentation of the two 23rd Award Winning video clips. The Ceremony ended with musical performances by members of the Paris Youth Association, the Vietnam Students Association of Paris, and the Overseas Patriotic Youth.

The 2013 International Human Rights Day Commemoration will continue with the VNHRN’s visits to Reporters Without Borders and Lawyers Without Borders tomorrow, 12/09/2013, at their respective offices.


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