Celebrating the 63rd anniversary of United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) bestowed the 2011 Asian Democracy and Human Rights Award on Boat People SOS (BPSOS) of the United States in recognition of its dedication to assisting asylum seekers to resettle around the world and combating human trafficking.
Boat People SOS (BPSOS) is a leading member in the Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA), in which the Vietnamese Canadian Federation is one of the partners.
In presenting this year’s award to Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, Executive Director of BPSOS, President Ma Ying-Jeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan) expressed his admiration for “the outstanding accomplishments of Boat People SOS, for it not only saves the refugees from endless torture, but also restores their lives through providing humanitarian resettlement and rescue assistance”.
Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-Pyng, Chairman of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, presenting the award grant of USD 100,000 to Dr. Thang, added “Apart from advocating on protecting human rights, holding campaigns for fighting for freedom, BPSOS also offers law services to those refugees who might need grass-root support so as to let them fit in society and start their new lives…BPSOS has made great contributions when it comes to preventing human trafficking in Taiwan”.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Thang noted “…I would like to pay tribute to the uncountable individuals, mostly anonymous, who tirelessly fight for those who cannot defend themselves; the NGOs, small in number but effective in action, that are always at the front lines; and to both the Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan of this great country for making the fight against human trafficking its national priority. You all are the heroes in this new, global abolitionist movement. On behalf of all of us at Boat People SOS, I thank you for allowing us to contribute our small part to your great endeavour.”
Ms. Tuyet Lam, President of the Vietnamese Canadian Federation (VCF), in a congratulatory letter to Dr. Thang and BPSOS, wrote: “This is an honour not only for the Vietnamese community in the U.S., but also to the whole overseas Vietnamese diaspora and Vietnamese living in Vietnam… The Federation is honoured to have the opportunity to work with BPSOS and Dr. Thang since 1988 until now, first in helping Vietnamese refugees resettle in Canada, and recently in providing support to Vietnamese refugees, brides of foreign men, and migrant workers in Asia”.
TFD, a non-profit and non-partisan organization established with the purpose of promoting democracy around the world, set up the annual Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in 2006 to support individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the peaceful promotion of democratic development and human rights in Asia.
BPSOS, founded in 1980, has dedicated itself to assisting asylum seekers to resettle in various countries through cooperation with state governments and non-governmental organizations worldwide. BPSOS has also cultured Asian immigrants for their pursuit of liberty and dignity. Through direct intervention in individual refugee and human-trafficking cases, BPSOS has set itself the goal of building a solid civil society in Asia. BPSOS now has 11 offices across the US, and four others in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Since 2008, VCF has been an active partner in CAMSA with BPSOS, International Society for Human Rights (Germany), Tenaganita (Malaysia), and Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation in providing support to Vietnamese women who are married to foreign men, migrant workers, and refugees in Asia. CAMSA now operates in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand.
VCF was founded in 1980 as an umbrella organization for the Vietnamese community in Canada to provide a resource centre for the community and to coordinate its activities in various areas. VCF has chapters all major cities in Canada. Its national office is located in Ottawa.
Date of release: December 17, 2011