The Presentation of the Vietnam Human Rights Award 2008




Vietnam Human Rights Network

December 14, 2008


Westminster, CA -  Over two hundred people attended a meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948-2008) at the Westminster Civic Center, California on Sunday December 14, 2008. . As a part of the meeting, the Vietnam Human Rights Network (VNHRN) also presented the Vietnam Human Rights Award 2008 to the Bi-weekly Tu Do Ngon Luan (Freedom of Speech), Venerable Thich Thien Minh, and the blogger Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai.


Professor Nguyen Thanh Trang, president of VNHRN, in his welcoming speech, reiterated the ideal of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and highlighted the progress obtained over six decades since the Proclamation of this basic document adopted by the United Nations in Paris December 10, 1948. After pointing up numerous human rights violations by the existing communist government of Vietnam, Professor Nguyen called on the audience to support in requesting the US State Department to reinstate the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on the Countries of Particular Concern list for its relentless repression of religions in recent years. Moreover, he also asked for the support to campaign for the passage of the Vietnam Human Rights Bill submitted by Senator Barbara Boxer in October 08.


As keynote speaker, Ms Mary Shuttleworth, President of Youth for Human Rights based in Los Angeles, has clearly identified the enormous worldwide achievement in terms of promotion and protection of human rights and dignity during last six decades. She also insisted that there still are injustices and oppression all around the world that need to be adequately dealt with. And the Annual Vietnam Human Rights Awards such as to be presented today is wonderfully an effort to encourage numerous human rights activists inside the country. The Awardees this time are evidently the most worthy recipients. 


At the presentation of the award, it was sad to note that as usually in recent years since its inception in 2002, none of the recipients were able to leave Vietnam for their personal reception at the ceremony. Furthermore, one of the recipients, the well known blogger Dieu Cay Nguyen van Hai, is actually in prison. And the two other recipients, Venerable Thich Thien Minh of the banned Vietnam Unified Buddhist Church and Father Phan Van Loi, the editor of Bi-weekly Tu Do Ngon Luan could only designed their representative to respectively receive the awards on their behalf. The two latter however could address the audience thru previously recorded speeches and delivered via internet. 


Among the guest speakers, one can note the valuable remarks of California Senator Lou Correa, Pastor Tran Thanh Van, President of the Vietnamese Interfaith Council in the USA, Ms Ann Lau , Chairwoman of the United Artists Guild based in Los Angeles, Ms Lilly Nguyen the Representative of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and a representative of the Union of Vietnamese American students of South California. The guest speakers all have unanimously expressed their approval to the VNHRN in its effort to grant the Annual VN Human Rights Award to the human rights activists inside the country as a token of recognition and encouragement to their firm endurance and dedication to the noble cause of Human Rights and Dignity for the people of Vietnam.


The ceremony was closed at about 4.00 PM with the satisfaction and good impression of the whole audience.


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