Presentation of the 2005 Vietnam Human Rights Award
The 2005 Human Rights Award was presented in absentia to three religion freedom proponents in Vietnam: Venerable Thich Tue Sy, Father Phan Van Loi, and Senior Le Quang Liem, by the Vietnam Human Rights Network (VHRN) in a pompous ceremony at the city of Westminster’s auditorium on Saturday, December 10, 2005 on the occasion of the 57th International Human Rights Day with the participation of about 200 guests and compatriots.
A short history of the award was outlined by Mr. Doan The Cuong, Head of the Organizing Committee, followed by an address by Dr Le Minh Nguyen, President of the VNHRN, on the significance of the International Human Rights Day. Dr. Le cited Articles 13,17, and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to accuse the Vietnamese Communist Party for its serious violations of human rights, most recently in the cases of Mrs. Pham Thi Trung Thu's loss of property, Mr. Hoang Minh Chinh's harassment, and Mr. Phuong Nam Do Nam Hai's brutal arrest. He also mentioned the names of previous awardees, including Venerable Thich Quang Do and Father Nguyen Van Ly for 2002 with emphasis on religious freedom; Lawyer Le Chi Quang, Dr. Pham Hong Son, journalist Nguyen Vu Binh, and M. Nguyen Khac Toan for 2003 with emphasis on youths for human rights; and Ex-Colonel Pham Que Duong and Dr. Nguyen Dan Que for 2004 with emphasis on freedom of expression.
The award, including an acknowledgement plaque and a check of US$2,000, was presented to each of the three recipients’ representatives for their “disregard of risks in fighting for religious freedom and human rights for the Vietnamese people.” Venerable Thich Tue Sy was represented by Venerable Thich Chon Thanh, Father Phan Van Loi by Father Tran Qui Thien, and Mr. Le Quang Liem by Mr. Phan Van Be. MM. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, Tran Phong Vu, and Nguyen Van Duc, on behalf of the VNHRN, also gave brief speeches to recognize the achievements and outstanding contribution of the awardees in the defense of human rights.
Among speakers at the event were Congress Member Dana Rohrabacher, Westminster Mayor Pro-tem Frank Frye, Ms. June Shelley, Director of Visual Artists Guild, and Ms Marla Benoist from Amnesty International.... The Mayor Pro-term, in the name of the Mayor of the City of Westminster, also presented certificates of commendation to each of the awardees and the VNHRN.