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Joint Statement of the Sixth International Vietnamese Youth Conference

posted Aug 17, 2011, 4:05 PM by Len Duong
From Vietnam and 14 other countries around the world, Vietnamese youths convened at the Sixth International Vietnamese Youth Conference in Manila, Philippines from August 4-7, 2011 under the theme "Access Now: Digital Activism for Social Change"

At this conference, we affirm that:

  • The freedom to connect is a fundamental human right regardless of where one resides. As such, restricting Internet access and censoring information are contrary to civilized norms and lead to social backwardness.
  • Social media and social networking are bridges to tolerance and unity among humanity, increasing civic knowledge and building the bonds among people. For Vietnam, these tools are the seeds to grow into an independent media and civil society.
  • When the Hanoi authorities blocked Facebook and other websites, Vietnamese youths "climbed over the walls and created cracks to enter." Circumventing firewalls is the act of civil disobedience of the 21st century.
In Vietnam, students, democracy activists and people in general have gathered openly and spoken out publicly for the country's territorial sovereignty. From digital activism, many have joined in offline, social activism. This is an important achievement when repression, intimidation and arrests cannot halt the forward movement of the democratic tide.

The Len Duong Youth Network will continue to utilize digital medium to empower people in Vietnam and advocate for the interests of the country. This is the responsibility of every Vietnamese to the fatherland and future generations.

Vietnamese Youths, together, we Must Speak Up!

Adopted in Manila, Philippines, August 7, 2011