We are born as human beings. That alone asserts itself as an inherent value and equality when we compare ourselves with other fellow human beings. Each individual in society are distinguished based on her role, responsibilities and not based on human dignity. Therefore, as true beings we have inviolable rights that are universal. And as long as we are affirmed as humans, we cannot accept inequality in our self worth, human rights and social roles.
Today, though mankind has achieved undeniable progress, in many parts of the world in general and in many areas of Asia in particular, women are still the objects of unequal treatment in shameful collusion between cultural institutions and the laws. As you know, the old culture and the inequilibrium in mental state have assigned default values, which discriminate against women. To date, women remain in vulnerable position, despite rhetorical claims of the government about gender equality.
Legal and political institutions in Vietnam not only are incapable of protecting the freedom of the people but they become the tools to deprive people of their inalienable human rights. In that context, the plight of women is many times worse. As reality has indicated, in the struggle to protect human rights and legitimate interests, we sisters – no less than men – have suffered untold repercussion and harassment. From those persecutions, we are at the receiving end of all the more serious consequences, both physically and mentally.
What should we do when our own human rights are being abused? What should we do when the material and spiritual interests are being stripped away by authorities? How should we act when our pride and self- respect as human beings are being trampled upon in police precincts, on the streets, and in factories? How should we act when our insufferable mental health witnesses our loved ones – in the struggle for freedom and human rights – are being persecuted, harassed, imprisoned or tortured, arrested and abused by the police? What do we do when faced with the reality that our children’s future is extremely bleak because their parents are the objects of repression? What should we do when we have to face with the stark reality of our children bleak future because their parents are the targets of the State’s oppression? How should we react when our honor are being slandered by State-organ news organizations? Surely, we cannot endure.
In the spirit of respect for Human Dignity and Human Rights, in the understanding that we marginalized sisters are suffering in a system where the law is not designed to protect Human Rights nor Civil Rights, in the aspiration for Liberty and Justice, in the desire to engage in the struggle for human rights protection whose subjects are especially women, we sisters, women who have experienced the violation of Human Rights – despite our differences in opinion, individual circumstances, and geography – must sit together in our expressed goal of protecting women ‘s rights. Therefore, we, particularly the women who have been suppressed for speaking out against human rights abuses wish to establish a civic organization called VIETNAMESE WOMEN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (https://vnwhr.net/).
All our Vietnamese women should have the right to live in a free society, safe and prosperous, but the reality is the opposite. And note that, freedom, human rights are values that are not granted by praying or waiting. We have to speak up because of the crackdown and we call on the authorities to respect human rights. Thus only when Human rights and interests of women are respected, the welfare of our family and children can be protected.
Therefore, we passionately and urgently call on the participation and support of all women interested in Vietnam Human Rights issues regardless of social backgrounds. We also appreciate the support from those gentlemen who respect, love, and care for women’s rights. The involvement and support from you all not only create favorable conditions for our Association to stand up women, but also help to promote dignity, Human Rights and Freedom for all Vietnamese people in general, in an era where human rights are the utmost concern worth promoting, despite the differences in culture, geography and politics.
In lieu of a conclusion, we respectfully send greetings of peace and love to all of you ladies of Vietnam as well as our warmest thanks to all those around the world who are interested in Vietnam ‘s human rights. Please partner with us in this difficult campaign.
On November 25, 2013
The Organizing Committee
(translated into English by Tố Tâm – NKTA)