The human rights talks continue when a delegation of human rights organizations met with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Section for Human Rights and Democracy and Section for East Asia and Oceania. Mr. Diem Do, Chairman of Viet Tan, presented an update on the current democratic movement in Vietnam and discussed about non-violent strategies to empower the people that Viet Tan hopes to implement in the near future. Ms. Tine Smith, Assistant Director General of the Section for Human Rights and Democracy, assured that Norway will continue to put more pressure on the Government of Vietnam through human rights dialogues. She also informed that in the Human Rights Dialogue last week between Norway and Vietnam, Norway pushed for human rights improvements and basic rights such as freedom of speech and press. Ms. Smith also agreed with Viet Tan that building a civil society is pivotal to build a foundation for democracy in Vietnam.
On Thursday 24 the Viet Tan delegation paid a visit to the Norwegian Parliament where the delegation was received by Member of Parliamentarians. Peter Gitmark from the Conservative Party suggested an adopt-a-prisoner of conscience program to provide international protection for democracy activists being jailed and harassed by the Government of Vietnam. With favorable consensus of other Parliamentarians, this program will be launched in collaboration with Viet Tan.
According to Mr. Diem Do, “The Vietnamese democracy movement is now facing both an important challenge and a tremendous opportunity. Our challenge is to survive this current crackdown at all costs. However, if we can survive this crackdown the next six months, a year or even beyond that, then it will truly be a turning point for the democracy movement. Instead of being silenced again, if we can continue to push forward, then it will be the point of no return for democratic changes inside Vietnam..”
After the meeting at the Parliament, the delegation met with the representatives of the Labor Party, the largest political party in Norway, to discuss about a pluralistic political system in Vietnam. The Labor Party showed potential collaborations in Vietnam, particularly on issues such as empowerment of women and the youth.
Saturday was the final day of Viet Tan’s 5 day trip to Norway. Mr. Diem Do spoke before the Party Congress of The Conservative Party.. Democracy activists from Cuba, Venezuela, and Belarus also participated in the discussion panel.