Dear Vietnamese Compatriots inside Vietnam and in the Diaspora,
Dear International Friends in Democratic Countries,
Freedom of conscience is one of the basic inalienable rights of a human being besides the freedom of thought, the freedom of religion and the freedom of expression. To live in accordance with our conscience is to live ethically, in the love of others, in justice and in truth. To act in accordance with our conscience is to act aiming at bringing happiness to others, especially for those who are victims of human rights violations. In Vietnam a great many people have been imprisoned simply because they demand their basic human rights through moderate and peaceful means. Amnesty International calls these people “prisoners of conscience.”
We, the undersigned, are former prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, we have been imprisoned in the past or undergone various forms of detention because we have struggled and worked for democracy and other human rights such as property rights, labor rights and a clean environment…
In the face of too many injustices and repressive actions that shout out for speaking up our conscience without delay, we would like to associate ourselves closely so as to become a civil society besides other independent civil societies, to be able to continue living in accordance with our conscience, to continue fighting for freedom, democracy, human rights and the freedom of religion in Vietnam.
We therefore solemnly proclaim the official formation of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience.
Our association, the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, fights for a rule of law which holds high human dignity and respects human rights, fosters freedom and builds democracy in accordance with international criteria and the civilized standards of mankind as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.
Our association fights for a Vietnam in which there would not be any prisoner of conscience left. The prison system of Vietnam also would have to be truly human in accordance with international criteria in which prisoners stepping out of there will become truly healthy citizens useful for their families and society at large.
Our association fights for a Vietnam and Vietnamese society which will be dear to all compatriots, a place in which the whole nation will truly be the masters and the government truly their servants, in which the Constitution and all of its laws truly reflect the will of the nation.
We earnestly and vigorously ask that the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam free at once and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience. All prisoners must be treated like human beings, they must be the objects of observation by human rights NGOs both inside and outside of Vietnam who can monitor their imprisonment.
This Proclamation is being issued in Vietnam on February 18, 2014.