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Vi Duc Hoy

Vi Duc Hoy

Bloc 8406
Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammett Award

In 2009, Human Rights Watch awarded the Hellman/Hammett Award to six Vietnamese writers - including Vi Duc Hoi - to honour their commitment to free expression and their courage in the face of political persecution.

Vi Duc Hoi is a democracy activist and member of Bloc 8406, a pro-democracy network of human rights defenders and organisations which began working in 2006 by publishing a Manifesto on Freedom and Democracy in Vietnam. Vi Duc Hoi was a member of the Communist Party between 1980 and 2007, during which time he held a number of positions: Director of the Communist Party School in Huu Lung District, Lang Son Province; District Standing Committee Member; and Chairman of the District Propaganda and Education Committee. In 2006 he began writing under a pen name: in his articles he was criticizing the party and calling for democratic reforms. In March 2007, when the party found out he was the author of the dissident texts, he was briefly detained and expelled from the party, and dismissed from his positions. Since then, he has been subjected to house arrest, threats and intimidation. 

Vietnamese authorities treat human rights defenders as “enemies of the State”. In Vietnam, there is no independent, privately-run media – domestic newspapers, television and radio stations are strictly controlled by the state. Internet communication is also strictly controlled and restricted. HRDs working for accountability and democracy receive accusations of being “foreign spies or agents”, “traitors”, or “violators of public order and peace”.