US Secretary of State honors journalist Pham Doan Trang, condemns Vietnam's unfair imprisonment

Title: Ngoại trưởng Hoa Kỳ vinh danh nhà báo Phạm Đoan Trang, lên án Việt Nam bỏ tù bất công
Publish Date: March 14, 2022
Publisher: RFA Tiếng Việt

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Note:  Original texts in Vietnamese

The US State Department condemns the unfair imprisonment of dissident journalist Pham Doan Trang and calls on the Vietnamese Government to immediately release her.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made such remarks during the 16th International Women of Courage Award ceremony, 2022, taking place on the morning of March 14, at the US Department of State, with the participation of Mr. First Lady Jill Biden.

Journalist and human rights activist Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2021 by the Hanoi first instance court for "conducting propaganda against the state".

The US State Department's annual Women of Courage Award honors brave women around the world. This year, 12 women worldwide were honored by the US Department of State, including Ms. Pham Doan Trang. They are honored for their exceptional courage, strength and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, equity and gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls…

Activist Pham Doan Trang was praised by the head of the US State Department Antony Blinken:

“In December, Ms. Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison in Vietnam for writing about democracy and human rights. She wrote about the crackdown on protesters and secretly recorded police questioning her.

When the media in Vietnam stopped publishing her articles, Doan Trang found her own path. Despite facing constant threats, she continues to educate others about their rights.

We condemn unjust imprisonment. We call for her immediate release.”

In a video shown during the award ceremony, the US Ambassador to Vietnam, Marc Knapper, introduced in more detail the work of journalist Pham Doan Trang in promoting freedom of expression in Vietnam. :

“I am pleased to introduce journalist, author, and recipient of the 2022 International Women of Courage Award, Ms. Pham Doan Trang, who has fought for the right to expression in Vietnam.

Through articles and interviews, she has used legal arguments to advocate for human rights, the rule of law and to bring all voices into the political space.

As an author, Doan Trang has made political complexities accessible to citizens with the aim of expanding political representation. She talked about issues that Vietnamese media are not allowed to talk about.”

Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung, President of the Vietnam Human Rights Network shared that he was touched to hear that another Vietnamese woman had been awarded this award. He said it was the international recognition in general and the US Government in particular for the work of human rights defenders in Vietnam, despite the risks and threats that await:

“Firstly, we are very happy and feel that Pham Doan Trang is very deserving to receive this noble award. Today, Pham Doan Trang received this award, but until now, Pham Doan Trang has received many awards, even the Human Rights Network award, for Pham Doan Trang's contributions in the field of fighting for the right to work. people in Vietnam and especially her courage. I am very touched.

This award is given to Pham Doan Trang, not just Pham Doan Trang, but to all the fighters in the country. Pham Doan Trang is a flower in that garden, not only Doan Trang, then this is the international and US government's recognition that the fight for human rights in the country is just and right. religion.”

Mr. Will Nguyen, a Vietnamese democracy campaigner, is also an associate of journalist Pham Doan Trang in the publication of the Dong Tam Report (a publication about the police attack on Dong Tam village, Hanoi earlier in the year). 2020), told RFA what this award means for Doan Trang and the movement for democracy in general:

I think this award is a very important symbolic act for Vietnamese human rights activists, and of course I am always excited to know that the United States notices and recognizes such figures. leader in the Vietnamese democracy movement.

On the other hand, Trang still has no freedom. I think the US can put stronger pressure on the Vietnamese government to abide by its international commitments and respect the basic constitutional rights of citizens like Trang. In the end, we all want a better Vietnam, including Trang and me.

US Ambassador Marc Knapper, in a video broadcast at the awards ceremony, pledged to work to help and encourage a strong, prosperous Vietnam. He believes that in order to develop, Vietnam needs to embrace openness, transparency, inclusion and respect for the rights of all citizens, which Ms. Doan Trang has constantly done:

“We applaud you for your work as human rights activists. Your bravery continues to inspire people in Vietnam and around the world.”

Speaking at the award ceremony, First Lady Jill Biden emphasized that this award is a declaration that the United States always stands with those who courageously act for justice, truth:

“For the past 16 years, this award has empowered women around the world. It illuminates the struggles and strengths of women across the globe.

It is a declaration that the United States is on the side of these heroes. They are not alone. Today we honor these 12 women, and more than that, we create a platform where they can speak the truth in their own words.

We see the power they hold to confront the most formidable challenges of our time and push us to do more…”

Before Ms. Pham Doan Trang, there are two other Vietnamese women who have also been awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the United States: Ms. Ta Phong Tan in 2013 and Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh who was honored in 2017.

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