MẠNG LƯỚI NHÂN QUYỀN VIỆT NAM
14550 Magnolia St., Suite 203, Westminster, CA 92683
Tel.: 714-897-1950 & 714-657-9488
November 07, 2010
2010 Vietnam Human Rights Award Will Be Conferred To Two Prisoners of Conscience
Little Saigon – During a meeting with the Vietnamese press in Little Saigon today, Vietnam Human Rights Network representatives (VHRN) announced that Mr. Đoàn Huy Chương, a workers’ rights activist, and Mr. Trương Minh Đức, a freelance journalist were selected as the recipients of 2010 Vietnam Human Rights Award. They were selected from a list of 21 nominated individuals and groups. Both of them are still held in Vietnamese communist prison.
The Vietnam Human Rights Award was founded in 2002 with the purpose of providing recognition to the outstanding works in the field of human rights in Vietnam. It is also an opportunity to express solidarity with and support for those involved in the relentless fighting for basic rights and justice for Vietnamese people. Since then, the award has been conferred annually to a numbers of distinguished human right activists in Vietnam. Last year’s winners were Pastor Nguyễn Công Chính and Writer Trần Khải thanh Thủy; and the award presentation ceremony was held in Washington DC on December 10, 2009.
This year, the award will be conferred in Houston, TX on the 62nd anniversary of the International Human Rights Day, an event coordinated and supported by the Vietnamese Community of Houston and Vicinities and local Vietnamese community-based groups.
The following are brief histories of the two award winners:
Workers’ rights Activist Đoàn Huy Chương
Born in 1985 in the province of Đồng Nai, married with two young children, Đoàn Huy Chương joined the workers in anti-government demonstrations at an early age. In 2006, under the name Nguyễn Tấn Hoành and together with four other youths, he wrote an open letter to the Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nông Đức Mạnh and Politburo, and Vietnam’s Ministry of Veterans and Social Services, denouncing the unjust treatments of workers in factories and demanding that they be paid appropriately according to their performance. The letter also asked that the state workers unions be abolished.
In 2005-2006, he organized together with other workers many strikes at the factory where he worked. He was the chairman of the United Workers-Farmers Organization (Hiệp Hội Đoàn Kết Công Nông) that he founded together with his father and other fellow workers, but only a short time after its foundation, all its members were arrested and sentenced to many years in prison. He received 18 months, and despite brutal tortures by prison wards, up to being kept in an isolated cell, he always behaved bravely, refusing to surrender and plead guilty.
He was released in mid-2008 for serious illness; however, after his health was getting better, he reconnected with his former fellow activists to continue their movement. On February 11, 2010, his wife’s brother was arrested for spreading leaflets on human rights, regional environment, and territorial integrity, and was promised to be released if he showed up. To save his brother-in-law, he did report himself on February 13, 2010 and was detained while his house ransacked by the police. On October 26, 2010, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison together with two fellow labor activists by Trà Vinh provincial court for instigating labor strikes and distributing anti-government leaflets.
Journalist Trương Minh Đức
Born in 1960 and a member of the Vietnam Populist Party (Đảng Vì Dân) and the 8406 Bloc (Khối 8406), Trương Minh Đức participated in several social activities in his early age. He assisted several victims of government’s corruption and power abuses in southern provinces.
He is the author of many articles against corruption, injustice, oppression, and exploitation, printed on such papers as Tiền Phong, Tuổi Trẻ, Kiên Giang, Pháp Luật, Thanh Niên in Vietnam under the pennames Lưu Quốc Thắng, Hạnh Chi, Minh Hà, PV, Đức Minh, CTV, TMĐ, Trương Minh Đức, etc. Since 2002, he has authored several articles on fighting corruption and injustice published on several overseas websites under various pennames as Hoàng Hà, Hoàng Thành, Phương Nam, Quốc Thắng, Nam Phương, etc.
On May 05, 2007, Mr. Trương was arrested at his home in Kiên Giang province, and after being held 10 months for interrogation, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison on March 28, 2008 for violating the Clause 2 of Section 258 of the Vietnam Penal Code, by “taking advantages of the people’s freedom and democracy rights to damage the interests of the country”. He strongly insisted that he did not violate any laws of Vietnam, and vowed to keep on protesting the sentence, working for the right cause, and fighting for basic rights and democracy, even from his prison.