Statement On Vietnam Human Rights Day, May 11, 2000

Today is the 6th anniversary of the Vietnam Human Rights Day in the United States. On this special occasion we gather here to evaluate our achievements and plan for our future actions.

In the previous year we obtained two concrete results. First. we succeeded in campaigning a number of US Congressmen to nominate the Very Rev. Thich Quang Do for 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. This nomination was also supported by influential personalities in Australia, France, Canada and other countries thanks to coordinated efforts of the Vietnamese communities around the world. Secondly, we have also recently succeeded in our campaign for the passing of House of Representative Resolution 295 with absolute votes demanding the respect of human rights in Vietnam. These achievements are clear proof of strong and concrete support of American and international community for our cause.

In the next year I suggest that we continue our campaign for the release of all political prisoners still remained in prison, especially those following persons: Professor Nguyen Dinh Huy, leader of the Movement for National Unification and Democracy Building, the only one of its members still imprisoned; Rev. Thich Hue Dang; Mr. Le trong Quang, the only member still imprisoned of Mr Tran Manh Quynh’s trial; and Mr. Tran Tu, leader and the only one still in jail of Vietnam Revolutionary Inter-Party. These persons should have been released many years ago.

We should also campaign for the end of all kinds of religious oppression, and for the return back to writers and journalists the freedom of expression and publication of their books and magazines in Vietbnam. We should also demand the rights of the Vietnamese overseas to circulate freely and publicly their publications, magazines, and all cultural and intellectual products in Vietnam.

However, our political campaign only succeed when finally a free and democratic regime is established in Vietnam where economic, cultural and political powers are returned back to the people. All present "renovation programs" by the Communist government only aim at maintaining their totalitarian regime and, as such, will not help to develop a stable, developed and equitable society. Therefore, it is time now for us to focus our joint efforts to campaign American and international opinion to demand for the abolition of Article 4 of the present Constitution of Vietnam as the first step in the process of establishing democracy in Vietnam. Only by this first step can exist the economic and political conditions and systems favorable to the participation of all Vietnamese, regardless of differences in religion, localities, and past political affiliations, in the development of Vietnam.

I strongly believe that we are on the right track, in the same direction with the global trend, and therefore, gaining more and more concrete results. And we are in the last stage of our peaceful, non-violent movement for a new Vietnam –a Vietnam with democracy, freedom and respect of human rights. The aspiration of our people for a new Vietnam are emerging into reality, both abroad and inside the country, in despite of any oppressive attempts from anywhere.

In this last stage of struggle, I personally pledge to work with democrats of all organizations and political affiliations, both abroad and inside the country, for our common cause.

Doan Viet Hoat

Washington DC
May 11, 2000