8406 Declaration


2006.10.05
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The 2006 Declaration on Democracy and Freedom for Vietnam

By 118 Fighters for Democracy Residing Inside Vietnam

Vietnam 8 April 2006

To the Vietnamese people, both inside and outside of Vietnam:

We, the undersigned, on behalf of hundreds of democracy fighters inside the country, and of all citizens aspiring for legitimate democracy for our native Vietnam, today make this unanimous declaration:

I. The state of the Vietnamese nation:

1. During the August 1945 Revolution, our whole people's choice was national independence, not socialism. The declaration of independence of 2 September 1945 did not include one word referencing or stating socialism or communism. The two reasons for victory during that revolution; were the thirst for national independence, and the power vacuum at that time in Vietnam (Japanese forces had surrendered to the Allies on 15 August, 1945, and French Colonialists had been overthrown by Japanese forces on 9 March, 1945). It is clear that the objectives of the revolution were hijacked by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). And it naturally follows that the inherent right of national self-determination was also eliminated. There were at least two historic opportunities, one in 1954 in the North, and one in 1975 over the entire nation, for our people to affirm their right for self-determination. But all to no avail, due to the treachery of, and by the CPV. The reason being, that once a dictatorship of the proletariat had been established, in accordance with Lenin’s tenets, its first obligation is oppression of the people by violence and terror!

2. Then on 2 September, 1945 in Hanoi, Mr. Ho Chi Minh, provisional chairman of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam solemnly declared to the nation and the world that: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These memorable words come from the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the USA. An extrapolation of the above words leads to the conclusion that: all peoples of the world are created equal. Each is entitled to life, happiness and freedom. The Declaration on human and civil rights of the French 1791 Revolution also states that:” All people are born free and have equal rights and must remain free and equal in all rights.” This is a logic that no one can deny. (Excerpts from the 2 September 1945 Declaration of Independence.) But all these divine rights of the people of the nation were brutally crushed as soon as a Communist regime was installed.

3. On February 1951, the Declaration by the Vietnamese Labor Party (now the CPV), at its 2nd Congress, states: “The Party's ideology is Marxism-Leninism”. And in its rules, on the parts relative to Objectives and Guidelines, it is even more clearly stated that: “The Labor Party of Vietnam adopts the doctrines of Marxism, Engel’s, Leninism, Stalinism and the thoughts of Mao Tse-Tung, together with the realities of the revolution in Vietnam, as the foundations for its thoughts and the compass for all actions by the Party”.

Since that time, particularly in the North after 1954, then in the whole country after 30 April 1975, the Specter of Communism has weighed heavily on the fate of the Vietnamese people. It was this specter and nothing else that robbed the Vietnamese people of all of their human rights. Today, it still dominates, and occupies both the spiritual and material facets of the Vietnamese nation.

II. The principle of globalization:

1. History has demonstrated that all freedoms and democracy in any totalitarian regime, communist or otherwise, shall be trodden upon without pity. The only difference is in their varying degrees of oppression. Unfortunately, up to now, Vietnam belonged, and till belongs to the small number of nations under the rule and domination of a Communist dictatorship. This is amply evidenced by article 4 of the current constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam which reads: “The Communist Party of Vietnam follower of Marxism-Leninism and the thoughts of Ho Chi Minh is the leading force of the government and society.” Because of this article all freedoms and democratic rights of the people are destroyed, except perhaps for a few perfunctory crumbs.

2. It is this power system, which refuses to accept any competition and any possibility that it may be replaced, that is responsible for the rapid deterioration and demise of the whole system. Because of the lack of equitable competitive principles and rules in the political sphere, after each election, the people are unable to elect the most meritorious individuals or political forces. The leadership machine (which) administers and manages (the affairs of the nation) becomes more and more corrupt, deteriorates from the center to the local areas. The consequence is that Vietnam today has become a nation lagging too far behind other nations in this region and in the world. This national shame and other national misfortunes are difficult to overcome. The paramount issue, and the paramount cause, springs from the proposition that, the CPV is the only political force leading the nation! Reality has demonstrated that all nations falling within the orbit of Communism have fared miserably. The Soviet Union, the cradle of Communism, and other East European Socialist nations, have had the courage to overcome, or overthrow Communism in order to return to the right path for their peoples.

3. We all understand that: no one can change history, but we can change the course of future history. More importantly, drawing from lessons in history, we can select a better path for our future. The path of yesterday for our nation was hastily chosen by the Communists, without due consideration, and imposed upon the whole nation by force. This path has been proven erroneous. For this reason, our people today must choose our own path again. It is a certainty that once the whole nation makes their choice, it will be a better choice than the one chosen by a particular individual or group of individuals. The CPV is only a component part of the nation. It cannot assume the name of the whole nation to make that choice! During the last half century (1954-2006), this ruling party has ruled only with presumption, military might, oppression and has lacked legitimacy – of purpose, right and deed! The reason being: the total absence of truly free elections in Vietnam.

From the state of affairs and principles described above, and conscious of our responsibilities as global citizens determining the course of the fate of our nation of Vietnam; we humbly make the following propositions to the people, both inside and outside of Vietnam:

III. Objectives, methods and meanings of our struggle:

1. The greatest objective in the struggle for freedom and democracy for the people today consists of a total change of the current political regime in Vietnam, not a partial “innovation”, or partial adjustments as are currently happening. In concrete terms, we must change from a unitary, one party, non-competitive political regime as it exists today; to a pluralist, multiparty, healthy competitive political regime, in accordance with the legitimate requirements, needs and wishes of the people, in which the system of three powers of the Legislative, Executive, Judiciary must be clearly separated, in conformity with international standards, and in accordance with the experience of humankind through costly and successful democratic systems.

The concrete aim is to establish the following basic rights for the people:

* Freedom of information and speech in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations ratified on 16 December 1966. Vietnam became an avowed party to this Covenant on 24 September 1982. Article 19.2 of the Covenant clearly states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” This means that political parties, organizations, and especially individuals have the right of (freedom of) information, speech through the printed press, radios, televisions and other instruments of mass media without having to seek permission from governments. * Freedom to associate, form associations, political parties, vote and stand for elected office in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 25: “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity * To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives; * To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;” This means that all political parties of all orientations shall compete in a healthy atmosphere in a legitimate multi-party and pluralist democracy. * The freedom (to participate in) independent trade unions and the legitimate right to industrial strikes in accordance with the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by the United Nations on 16 December, 1966. Articles 7 and 8 which state: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work...

“The right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his choice, subject only to the rules of the organization concerned, for the promotion and protection of his economic and social interests (with) the right to strike.” These trade unions must be solely independently active unions, not the type of unions that are lackeys of the regime.

* Religious freedom in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 18: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” Religions should conduct their affairs independently, not as an instrument of government

2. The method of this struggle is peaceful and non-violent and the Vietnamese people themselves shall carry this struggle to completion. However, we are grateful for the heartfelt and increasingly effective support from friends all over the world. Through modern information dissemination and increasingly open international exchanges, we shall seek means to help our people improve their consciousness. Once the people have achieved right consciousness, they shall surely act appropriately and effectively. 3. The meaning of this struggle is that righteousness shall overcome wrong; progress shall overcome backwardness. The forces of the nation are working for the correct principles of life and the tides of history to overcome the evil forces that are arrayed against these principles and tides. Whether the CPV shall accompany the people in this journey depends on its level of objectivity, sense of equity, clarity of mind and modesty in accepting the principle of equitable and healthy competition. However, this one-party-only political system must be resolutely and irrevocably buried with the past. From then on, the people shall elect the best individuals, the best political forces in each individual election to lead the nation. The principle “reason will absolutely triumph” shall be established and life for the individual shall improve, society shall be more humane and the people shall be closer to each other.

* We are hopeful this declaration shall lead to active contributions from the people both inside and outside of Vietnam, and support from our friends in the international community. We sincerely extend our gratitude to, and appeal to, the United Nations, Congresses/Parliaments, governments, international organizations and friends, for their continued heartfelt and effective support for this meaningful struggle, as part of their contribution to the Vietnamese nation, so that we shall be able soon to catch up and be on par with free, prosperous, virtuous, civilized nations in the global human community of today.

Unanimously declared in Vietnam on 8 April, 2006

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