FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vietnamese Women for Human Rights becomes first FORUM-ASIA member from Vietnam

Vietnam – 28 January 2016

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR), an independent civil society organization from Vietnam, recently broke new ground by becoming the first organization from inside Vietnam to gain membership into one of the largest and most important human rights networks in Asia, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, (FORUM-ASIA).

“We are honored to be FORUM-ASIA’s first Vietnamese member organization”, says Huynh Thuc Vy, coordinator for VNWHR.  “We hope that we can contribute by sharing human rights concerns from inside Vietnam, especially on women human rights defenders and the struggles of independent civil society organizations. We also hope to learn and support the struggle for human rights across ASEAN.”

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Joining such a key regional network is a significant step forward for VNWHR and other independent groups in Vietnam, as most regional engagement has been dominated by GONGOs (Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organizations). VNWHR and other independent groups still face significant challenges, including, bans on international travel and attacks against members by the police or by police-sanctioned thugs.

The addition of a group from Vietnam to FORUM-ASIA is a breakthrough development and was welcomed by FORUM-ASIA members. “We are so happy to have VNWHR join us,” says Chalida Tajaroensuk, Executive Director of Thailand’s People’s Empowerment Foundation (PEF), one of the organizations that endorsed VNHWR’s application for membership. “We all know the human rights situation in Vietnam is one of the challenges in the region, but we had no Vietnamese members. We feel that VNWHR can strengthen FORUM-ASIA and that FORUM-ASIA can strengthen VNWHR.”


Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR) is an independent civil society organization founded in 2013 in response to failure of mass women’s organizations to effectively respond to the needs of women and human rights issues. Core issues of focus include defense and support of female human rights defenders, including prisoners of conscience, and support of persecuted ethnic and religious minorities on rights issues ranging from land grabbing to freedom of belief.

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Democratic Voice of Vietnam is a resource center and hub for independent civil society in Vietnam. It is a space for ASEAN civil society organizations to connect with genuine civil society inside Vietnam to work on human rights issues inside Vietnam and across ASEAN.

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