ACSC/APF 2015 – Recap

The DVOV Exhibit Booth & Remote Participation

The DVOV exhibit booth was set up as a space for independent CSOs from Vietnam and conference participants to "meet" one another. ACSC/APF participants were able to gather resources such as leaflets, reports, and a directory, and had the option of endorsing one of the joint statements written by a collection of Vietnam's independent CSOs. It is where the #NOTAGONGO Campaign debuted. Below are some highlights:

Video greetings and messages from independent CSOs

Images from the solidarity photobooth

For more photos, please view our Facebook page

Joint Statements from Vietnam's Independent CSOs

On April 3, 2015, Vietnam's independent civil society organizations issued a statement about government harassment, arbitrary arrests, intimidation, and use of "government-organized non-governmental organizations" (GONGOs) to marginalize civil society. Over 100 endorsements were acquired at the ACSC/APF. This was one of several statements released by the independent CSOs during 2015.

A Brief Statement by Genuine Vietnamese Civil Society Organizations

Vietnam, April 3, 2015

This statement is jointly issued by the following organizations including those marginalized from the so-called “Vietnamese national process for ACSC/APF 2015”:

I. First of all, we recognize the important and indispensible role of ASEAN independent civil society organizations (CSOs) in promoting prosperity, stability, and democratization for every ASEAN member nation and for all the people of ASEAN.

We also regard dictatorial regimes and their “government-organized non-governmental organizations” (GONGOs) are a serious hindrance to justice, to democratic processes, and to the development and survival of genuine civil society.

II. Therefore, representing independent Vietnamese civil society organizations, we respectfully ask ASEAN civil society organizations to support us in:

1. Urging the Vietnamese Government to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience.

2. Urging the Vietnamese Government to stop persecution and arbitrary arrests of dissidents, human rights defenders, and unregistered religious groups.

3. Demanding that the Vietnamese Government implement a transparent and verifiable process to repeal articles of the Penal Code that violate internationally recognized human rights, such as the criminal laws against “injuring the national unity,” “abusing democratic freedoms”, and “propaganda against the state.”

4. Demanding that the Vietnamese Government reform the laws to comply with international standards regarding human rights, social justice, and non-discrimination.

5. Urging the Vietnamese Government to change the laws and social, administrative, and political institutions to facilitate the formation and activities of all independent civil society organizations.

6. Demanding that the Vietnamese Government immediately stop its smear campaigns in the news media and cyber-attacks against dissidents, bloggers, prisoners of conscience, and human right activists.

III. We have been victims of Vietnamese communist dictatorship for a long time.

Vietnamese dissidents and human rights defenders are frequently put under surveillance, harassed, persecuted and even imprisoned for their peaceful work. Human rights and dignity, and even the lives of Vietnamese men and women, are trampled on by police and security forces while GONGOs look the other way. Because the government-sponsored NGOs run by the Vietnamese Fatherland Front (VCP's instrument) continue supporting the authorities to oppose human rights, civil liberties, and the democratization of Vietnam.

IV. And now we believe that it is now time for genuine NGOs to build strong international connections to protect ourselves and to empower the underprivileged and marginalized people in Vietnam.

We do completely endorse the 2015 ACSC/APF Joint Statement. But we do not endorse the ACSC/APF official nominations deriving from the Vietnamese national process. We also have no alternate nominations. Independent CSOs hope that our position will be considered similar to the case of Cambodia where there are 2 processes for both independent CSOs and GONGOs.

Our seasoned activists are banned from travel abroad, so it is impossible for us to send our representatives to join the APF 2015 in Malaysia.

Because Vietnamese authorities maintain a hostile attitude and carry out repressive actions against the independent CSOs, we do not want to deal with them until they show some goodwill. So we will not have any interface with the government in the coming conference. We believe it cannot be a genuine interface between civil society and the government if both representatives of GONGOs and the government work for the Vietnamese Communist Party.

We also believe that the good reputation ASEAN CSOs have earned in defending human rights, achieving better living conditions for their people, and promoting education, social justice, and democracy will be undermined if ACSC/APF is occupied by GONGOs from member countries, especially from Vietnam.

Finally, therefore, we call for more collaboration among genuine ASEAN CSOs – and especially with genuine CSOs in Vietnam and other countries whose governments actively suppress civil society -- for a more people-centered, democratic, and prosperous ASEAN community.

The Undersigned Organizations:

1) Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR), coordinated by Huynh Thuc Vy;
2) Vietnamese Political & Religious Prisoners Friendship Association, coordinated by Nguyen Bac Truyen;
3) Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, coordinated by Pham Ba Hai;
4) Con Dau Parishioners Association, coordinated by Lucia Phan;
5) Religious and Ethnic Minority Defenders, coordinated by Huynh Trong Hieu;
6) Brotherhood for Democracy, coordinated by Nguyen Van Dai;
7) Association of Bau Bi Tuong Than, coordinated by Le Thi Cong Nhan.
8) Cao Dai Church, Human Livelihood Sect
9) Civil Society Forum
10) Vietnam-America Evangelical Lutheran Community Church
11) Christian Mennonite Church
12) Hoa Hao Buddhists Church, Purity
13) Association to Protect Freedom of Religion
14) Evangelical Protestant Chuong Bo Church
15) Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church
16) Nguyen Kim Dien Priests Group
17) Bloc 8406
18) Movement of Vietnam Path
19) Bauxite Vietnam
20) Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam
21) Chamber of Justice and Peace, Vietnamese Redemptorist Congregation.

Supporting Individuals and Organizations:

1) Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam, coordinated by Vu Quoc Dung
2) Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA), coordinated by Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang
3) BPSOS International Initiatives, coordinated by Atty. Gia Hartman
4) People Serving People Foundation
5) Canadian Youth for Human Rights in Vietnam
6) Krystal of Sarawak Women for Women Society
7) Suzella of Sarawak Women for Women Society
8) Robert of Punan National Association
9) Mark of Borneo Resources Institute
10) Tang Hock Men
11) Sinwarrow
12) Chris Olyvia
13) Teh Chiany of PROGRESIF
14) Leong Tsu Quin of Int. of Commission Jurists
15) Tyrune Beyer of Phil Task Force gor IP Rights
16) Siti of Empower
17) Tay Weiling of WAO
18) Syatira Juartiyono
19) Atika Nabillah
20) Asyrof Hamdon
21) Iqkram Ismail
22) Sultan Ahamel
23) Phao Phanrth of CamASEAN
24) Shazeera Apt.
25) Tang Hock Men
26) Anno Arifin of Arus Polong
27) Aiman Hakim of Kelab Bangsar Utama
28) Oeur Narit
29) Montree Chatawong
30) Sabanah Yusin
31) Yomi Sonubi of Needeed
32) Niabdufufa Johnny
33) Johana Gugse
34) Siti Nurwala
35) Ambrey Veizosa
36) Len Jarorn
37) Tore Seliv of Finnish Asiatic Society
38) Rafael Dru
39) Juhaidi Wannda of Botneo
40) Caroline Ngurang
41) Moe Moe
42) Lu Lu
43) Ding Jo-Ann of CIJ
44) Ester Otion of Botneo
45) Enrica He
46) Patty Pongsai of AI
47) Arbibusta Dorloh of Lempar
48) Manatt of MKM
49) CT. Razidah of MKM
50) Hasnah Habir of hasnah90
51) Shah Jinggo
52) PG Rociah of MKM
53) SADIA
54) Nicholas of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association
55) Chris of LOH
56) Altsean
57) Ratha Touch
58) Hy Keang
59) Atthesaka Chan
60) Debbie Stothard
61) Yuenmei Wong
62) Pertubuhan Adyokasi Masyarakat Terpinggir (PAMT)
63) NOH
64) Michael Luang Entiyang
65) Geoffery
66) Marina
67) Serpientie Johnny
68) Chris Olyra
69) Ha Thi Thanh Van
70) Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa My
71) Tes Borgoiios
72) Jahanna Engse
73) Arlene of DurianASEAN
74) Rodiah Blaling
75) H. Kiah of MKM
76) Rafael Dru
77) Solxhom Khet
78) Bina Ramanand of Foreign Spouses Support Group
79) William Nicholas Gomes of HRD + Freelance journalist
80) Khaw Hool Voon
81) Anna Arifin of Arus Pelangi
82) Robest of Putnan National Assn
83) Khaing Kaung San
84) Serpientie Johnny
85) Ahimsa Society
86) Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDA)
87) Canadian Youth for Human Rights
88) Zub of MKM
89) Ismail Haji Wancik of Warta Patani
90) Ryan A. Syakur
91) Azri Wan Jaafar
92) Syahrul Nordin
93) Izzat Ameer
94) Abdullah Me-Lee
95) Izan of MKM
96) Ging Christobal of IGHHRC
97) Arfan Wattana of PerMAS
98) Ian of GMM
99) The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
100) Helda Khasmy of Seruni
101) Action Committee foe Democracy Development (ACDD)
102) Jacob Robinson of DVB
103) Ron De Vera of ASEAN Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity/Expression (SOGIE) Caucus
104) Paulus of JOAS

ACSC/APF Resources

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