These past six weeks have been a whirlwind for us here at The 88 Project! We celebrated Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s birthday on November 29th and raised awareness for his unjust imprisonment, we took part in Human Rights Day on December 10th, we also began planning for 2015. We also launched the beta version of our timeline tool, meant to serve as a resource for those interested in the history of the struggle for freedom of expression in Vietnam (have you checked it out yet?! click here). While we devoted our attention to these other projects, we decided to postpone the human rights recap– but now, we’re back in full force and ready to bring you the latest news!
In honor of our new timeline tool, we decided to put this installment of the human rights recap into timeline form. Scroll through the dates below to find out the latest news concerning freedom of expression in Vietnam. Click on the links within the text to read more about each event.
November 11, 2014: Vietnam presents its report to the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Many were concerned by the report, which was the first submission to the Committee in over twenty years.
November 15, 2014: Vietnam’s leaders face a confidence vote.
November 24, 2014: The 88 Project celebrates the beginning of its third year of operations.
November 28, 2014: Jailed activist, Minh Man Dang Nguyen, serving nine years, starts a hunger strike over her poor treatment in prison
November 29, 2014: People around the world celebrate the birthday of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and call for his release. The 88 Project released a video, in collaboration with Thuc’s family, that has been viewed over 1500 times. In addition, Huong Nguyen, a contributor to and co-founder of The 88 Project, wrote a guest blog for Amnesty International about Thuc’s case. An Amnesty International group in France also planned activities in honor of Thuc, and many people expressed their support of Thuc on social media with pictures and messages of solidarity.
December 4, 2014: Freedom House releases its Freedom on the Net 2014 report, finds that Vietnam is “Not Free”
December 6, 2014: Blogger Nguyen Quang Lap is arrested and later charged under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code
December 10, 2014: The 88 Project shares a Human Rights Day blog post
December 10, 2014: A blogger is beaten in Vietnam on Human Rights Day
December 10, 2014: Ted Osius is sworn in as US Ambassador to Vietnam
December 12, 2014: A Vietnamese appeals court upholds the sentences of human rights activists Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Van Minh, and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, originally sentenced in August of 2014
December 17, 2014: The Committee Protect Journalists names Vietnam as the country with the 5th highest amount of imprisoned journalists in the world
We are currently looking for specific actions that you can take to help free Nguyen Quan Lap, Hong Le Tho, and others. Please check back for more information soon.
In the mean time, please review this list of general actions that you can take in your everyday life to help promote human rights, including freedom of expression (this list was originally published in our Human Rights Day blog post):
1) Stay engaged with the news, both in your country and internationally.
2) Speak up when you hear about something that doesn’t seem right, whether that is posting a reply to a news article online or speaking out about a problem at your school or workplace.
3) Use your personal connections to raise awareness for causes that you care about. Talk about your passions with the people around you.
4) Use your talents– whether its filmmaking, crafting, cooking, event planning, photography, comedy, music, or sports– to make a difference. Start a blog. Take a trip. Fundraise. Host a party. Join forces with a local organization. Start your own.
5) Engage with policymakers– through letters, phone calls, or social media– to show your support or disapproval for various laws or agreements that involve human rights.
6) Be aware of the purchases you make and how they effect others.
7) Give up something, big or small, to benefit someone else.
8) Get involved with us here at The 88 Project or with another human rights organization– donate your time, money, or talents and knowledge.
9) Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and share it with a friend.
10) Remember that human rights are still, and will always be, relevant. Pick a right or two that resonate with you and think about how they apply to today’s world.
Tweet at us @The88Project to let us know what you think about these topics, and let us know if you have a certain topic that you’d like us to write about. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.