VIETNAM HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK
MẠng LưỚI Nhân QuyỀn ViỆt Nam
8971 Colchester Ave, Westminster, CA 92683
Tel.: (714) 657-9488
2012 Vietnam Human Right Award Ceremony in Montréal, Canada
The 2012 Vietnam Human Right Award (VNHRA) was officially presented at a ceremony on December 9, 2012 in Montréal, Canada, concurrently with the commemoration of the 64th International Human Right Day [Video reportage]. The event was organized by the Vietnam Human Right Network (VNHRN) and Vietnamese Community of Montréal, with the support from 18 Vietnamese NGOs in Montréal and throughout Canada. The award was made possible with financial support from the Vietnamese Community of San Diego (USA), Vietnamese Community of Montreal, and the Vietnamese Physicians Association of the Free World.
Photos of the three laureates
Despite the cold weather, the Côte-des-Neiges Cultural Center was packed with a full audience. The guests include several members of Parliament: Hai Ngo, Mai Hoang, Anne Quach, and Irwin Cotler (former federal Minister of Justice). The event opened with a welcoming speech by Dr. Dao Ba Ngoc, president of the Vietnamese Community of Montreal. Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung, representating the VNHRN, reminded the audience of the significance of the International Human Right Day and the VN Human Right Award. In his words, “The award for this year has a special meaning, since all three winners are woman activists who stood up for the rights of ordinary people. These three activists, blogger Ta Phong Tan, Ms. Pham Thanh Nghien, and Ms. Huynh Thuc Vy, overcame fear of oppression and tyranny. The regime may be able to oppress them physically, but it cannot suppress their relentless push for freedom, dignity, and justice.”
The award citations were solemnly read aloud in Vietnamese and French, honoring the contributions of each of the three winners. The citations also recognize the special role of their family in the lives of these three women laureates. Since all three winners are either in prison or under house arrest in Vietnam, three representatives were invited to accept the award on their behalf. Many in the audience were brought to tears by the acceptance speeches, which were recorded earlier by the activists in their own voice.
Dr Tung Nguyen presented the award plaque to Ms Kim Oanh, Ms Pham Thanh Nghien's representative
A highlight of this year’s award presentation was a petition containing thousands of signatures by Canadian citizens. Dr. Dao Ba Ngoc, president of the Vietnamese Community of Montreal, gave a copy to the attending members of Parliament. The petition calls on the government of Canada to continue pressure on the Vietnam government to release prisoners of conscience and improve human rights. The members then took turn giving their remarks on the Human Right Award, and promised to deliver the message to the Canadian Cabinet at the earliest.
Canadian Senator and Members of Congress received petition from Vietnamese Community
The event continued with remarks from Dr. Can Thi Bich Ngoc, Executive Director of the Vietnamese Physicians Association of the Free World, and Ms. Khue Tu, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Vietnamese Canadian Federation. Both speakers highlighted the contributions of women in the long struggle for human rights in Vietnam. The ceremony ended with a special song, “A Million Hearts,” by a chorus of young volunteers from different cities.