Following Vietnam’s entry into the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2014-2016 term, the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers issued an annoucement, saying, “the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers will participate in and contribute to upholding core values in promoting and protecting human rights and respecting provisions that Vietnam has voluntarily committed itself to.” (1)
What the Network has been and will be doing in the time to come include:
– publicly disseminating human rights documents of which Viet Nam is a signatory;
– assigning the Network’s delegates to UNHRC offices in particular and UN offices in general to report on human rights in Viet Nam and to submit petitions and requests for change, so that the Vietnamese people can truly enjoy universal human rights and establish Viet Nam’s credible member of UNHRC;
– conducting the official inauguration ceremony of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers on December 10, 2013 to mark the International Human Rights Day established by the United Nations.
The Network has been implementing all of these commitments.
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day of December 10, the Network organized social gatherings on human rights in Nha Trang, Saigon, and Hanoi. These gatherings were obstructed, and their attendants were assaulted by different forces of the Vietnamese governmennt who has just been elected as a member of the UNHRC. The Network has reported these developments in its recent “Full Report on Suppressions of Bloggers Celebrating International Human Rights Day.” (2)
Subsequently, the Network, however, has continued its commitments by sending some of its members, including Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh (aka. Mẹ Nấm), Nguyễn Thảo Chi, Đào Trang Loan (Hư Vô), Nguyễn Hoàng Vi (An Đỗ Nguyễn), and Châu Văn Thi to regional countries in an effort to seek support from international human rights organizations for promoting human rights in Vietnam.
Two bloggers, Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh and Nguyễn Hoàng Vi, left Vietnam while they were still in bad health condition as a result of the collective assault by plainclothes police and “the governmennt-organized masses” in Vi’s apartment on December 10, the International Human Rights Day.
All of the bloggers were stopped at the airport and prohibited from leaving the country. Nguyễn Hoàng Vi’s and Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh’s passports were confiscated. (3)
The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers holds the opinions that:
– All the activities undertaken by the Network’s members and other Vietnamese citizens are purely exercising fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties to which the Vietnamese state is a signatory.
– The fact that the above-mentioned members of the Network go abroad does not at all affect national security, public order, public health or morals, or threaten others’ freedoms, and goes in accordance with other rights guaranteed by the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.
– The restriction of movement against Vietnamese citizens, especially those who are members of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, is a violation of Article 12 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which stipulates that “Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence; Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own; The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.”
– All the acts of oppression by the Vietnamese governmennt on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day and its subsequent restriction of movement against Vietnamese citizens run counter to the commitments made by the Vietnamese governmennt to the UNHRC in particular and to the international community in general.
Successive violations of human rights shortly after Vietnam was elected into the UNHRC for the 2014-2016 term have reaffirmed the missions that our Network is pursuing:
“As free citizens and with the understanding that Viet Nam’s membership of UNHRC means all the 90 millions Vietnamese people are members of the Council, the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers will participate in and contribute to upholding core values in promoting and protecting human rights and respecting provisions that Viet Nam has voluntarily committed itself to.”
We, the free citizens, will stride, no matter what acts of isolation, suppression or intimidation we may suffer from, to make contributions to the implementation of the commitments that the Vietnamese government has made to the international community on behalf of its people.
Fulfilling these commitments is not just the aspiration of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers in protecting human rights but also the obligation of every citizen in defending the honour of the nation and people of Vietnam.