Washington D.C. Protest – International Human Rights Day Dec. 10, 2011


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”

So begins the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no doubt an important foundation for a potential world peace.

On International Human Rights day, December 10, 2011, in Washington D.C., a few activists and myself stood in front of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and read the articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English and Vietnamese through a megaphone. Our goal was simple. We wanted to remind the government of Vietnam that all human beings, regardless of which side of the hemisphere they live in, are entitled to fundamental rights and freedoms. In light of the Vietnamese government’s recent crackdowns on activists and bloggers, it was clear to many, if not all, that the government of Vietnam was violating some of the following articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including but not limited to:

Article 1.

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 3.

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 9.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

  • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

The recent arbitrary arrests of Vietnamese youth activists and bloggers in Vietnam blatantly violates articles 9, 11, and 12 above. The methods by which they were detained violates article 5. The coercive silencing of the detained activists in court (if any hearing is held) violates article 10. And the ordeals that these activists are subjected to are a breach of articles 1 and 3.

It was a cold day, that Saturday Dec. 10, but we definitely felt the warmth coming from the flames of liberty. We believe that these flames are spreading, and will one day sweep over the lands of the oppressed, like quenching rain that falls on barren desert that has experienced drought for too long. The people thirst and hunger for justice, freedom, and liberty…

(Note 1: The complete Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be found at the following link: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml)

(Note 2: A member of Viet Tan has informed me that the arrests of the Vietnamese youth activists also violate articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, more information can be found at the following link: http://www.viettan.org/Vietnamese-Government-urged-to.html)

– Anh Nhật

Em Van Mo Mot Ngay Ve – Nguyet Anh

I love this song so much, it voices the dream my people all share. 🙂

Em Vẫn Mơ Một Ngày Về – Nguyệt Ánh


Vietnamese Lyrics:

Em vẫn mơ một ngày nào quê dấu yêu không còn Cộng thù
Trên con đường mòn, sau cơn mưa chiều, anh ôm đàn dìu em đi dưới trăng
Ta đứng yên nghe rừng thì thầm
Ta ngước trông sao trời thật gần
Anh ôm cây đàn, anh buông tơ trầm, em ca bài mừng quê hương thanh bình

Rồi bình minh tới anh đưa em về làng
Này bà con đón, kia anh em chào mừng
Thôn quê tưng bừng, muôn chim reo hò, hát mừng người vừa về sau chiến chinh
Rồi hoàng hôn xuống ta say men rượu nồng
Họ hàng trong xóm thay nhau nhen lửa hồng
Sương giăng mịt mùng, đêm sâu chập chùng
Xóa ngục tù, xiềng gông bao năm

Em vẫn mơ một ngày nào, anh với em chung tình bạc đầu
Trên quê hương nghèo, trong khu rừng già, trước mái nhà cờ vàng bay phất phơ
Bên mái hiên ta ngồi chuyện trò, khoai nướng thơm hương tình ruộng đồng
Con thơ ngoan hiền, ê a đánh vần, V.N. là Việt Nam kiêu hùng

Rồi ngày con lớn con ca vang tình người
Hòa bình no ấm con ca vang tình đời
Thay cho mẹ hiền, thay cho cha già, suốt cuộc đời hòa lời ca đấu tranh
Rồi ngày con lớn con đi xây cuộc đời
Mầu cờ Tổ quốc con tô thêm rạng ngời
Quê hương thanh bình, muôn dân yên lành, sống cuộc đời tự do muôn năm

I always dream of a return day
Coming back home from so far away
The home of the free, home of the brave, we will start all over again
The birds will sing for democracy
The bells will ring for liberty
The sun will shine for human rights
Stars in the sky will brighten up the smiles

Sing sing a song for a happy ending
There’s no more communists when the new days begin
Children will dance on a peaceful land
The land of the free, the land of the brave
Sing sing a song for everybody
Having a chance to live again
Sing sing a song, for you and me
Having the chance to love again

Em vẫn mơ một ngày nào, anh với em chung tình bạc đầu
Trên quê hương nghèo, trong khu rừng già, trước mái nhà cờ vàng bay phất phơ
Bên mái hiên ta ngồi chuyện trò, khoai nướng thơm hương tình ruộng đồng
Con thơ ngoan hiền, ê a đánh vần, V.N. là Việt Nam kiêu hùng

V.N. là Việt Nam muôn năm.

Please don’t hesitate to correct me of any mistakes in the Vietnamese lyrics. My Vietnamese isn’t perfect, after all, so I would appreciate it. 🙂

Also, I don’t have any affiliation with the artist, song or video. Many many thanks to their respective owners for sharing it all with us. 😀