A call for action from the Vietnamese Blogger's Network - Dân Làm Báo

A call for action from the Vietnamese Blogger's Network

Let us unite and stand up for the protection of our environment and demand Formosa group to leave Vietnam while prosecuting all responsible parties.

...The mass killing of fish in four central provinces is not only the most serious environmental catastrophe in the history of Vietnam but also an enormous crisis in social, political areas and will affect survivability, and the independence of Vietnam profoundly.

Confronted with this crisis, if we do not commit to jointly contribute to the solution as one, we are writing a death sentence of our own beloved country...

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Environmental disaster caused by the Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Corporation (FHS) has created serious consequences such as long-term harmful effects on the environment, the health and the life of people as well as the national economy. Fishermen in four provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên - Huế are most directly affected. More importantly, living conditions, cultural traditions and fishing developments that took centuries to evolve are now at risk of being demolished due to a corporation’s irresponsible actions.

With the death of millions of fish, the contamination of the sea will chase away Vietnamese fishermen, subsequently creating more favorable opportunities for Beijing to invade Vietnam by putting Chinese fishermen in Vietnam’s deserted waters.

Therefore, the mass killing of fish in four central provinces is not only the most serious environmental catastrophe in the history of Vietnam but also an enormous crisis in social, political areas and will affect survivability, and the independence of Vietnam profoundly.

Confronted with this crisis, if we do not commit to jointly contribute to the solution as one, we are writing a death sentence of our own beloved country.

We cannot eliminate this catastrophe with individual efforts, short-term solutions, or divisiveness. These will not generate adequate impact for significant changes.

Therefore, the Vietnamese Bloggers’ Network (MLBVN) earnestly calls on each and everyone:

1. To place our country’s interests above all; let us work together:

All organizations, political parties, unions, associations and political groups, all advocates for Human Rights and Democracy, within Vietnam and abroad, and all our fellow Vietnamese who have shared the bitter and sweet tastes of the days when we went out to the streets to express our patriotism... together, let us all stand up above all differences to join hands for the common cause. Let us unite. Together we fight for our goal: Demanding the Communist party and the government of Vietnam to address the root causes of the disastrous consequences caused by Formosa Steel Corporation, and to prosecute the culprits, to hold officials accountable for their handling of the operations of Formosa Steel Corporation and stop all illegal operations of Formosa group in Vietnam.

2. Do not hand over the destiny of our country and the power to decide the future of our country to a small of group people: 

MLBVN earnestly calls on all of us, old and young compatriots, spiritual leaders, teachers, intellectuals, students to please join hands, march together with our compatriots who have fought and are fighting for the sustainability of the country, for the preservation of Vietnamese culture and values, and for our fishermen and the oceanic environment of Vietnam.

3. Let us fight perseveringly and incessantly: 

Every day, toxic chemicals are still roaming in the high seas. The future of each individual in four central provinces is still in the dark, and the livelihood of our loved ones is at risk of being destroyed by the toxic environment and by food poisoning.

Every day, not only Formosa Steel Corporation but also lots more factories are still discharging toxic chemicals into our soil and seas. Fishermen still cannot fish in the seriously contaminated Eastern sea. 

Thus, every hour of every day we must fight incessantly. Let us keep up our fight; lest everything sinks into oblivion as the fate of the millions of dead fish.

With the above mission and guiding principles, MLBVN respectfully proposes a course of action based on three main Vietnamese characteristics: unity, inclusiveness, and persistency:

I. Altogether we will launch a movement to fight for restoring and protecting the environment, to put an end to the recurrence of similar disasters in the future by holding a sweeping rally, from Vietnam to overseas on Sunday, July 31, 2016.

This is the first step of the campaign with the following objectives and targets:

1. With Formosa Steel Corporation:

a. Demand a full re-assessment of the damage to the environment, and to the people's lives. This must be conducted by independent professional appraisers so that compensation can be disbursed fairly and appropriately;

b. Demand the prosecution of all individuals responsible for this catastrophe before the criminal courts;

c. Termination of all operations of Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Company in Vietnam.

2. With Vietnam’s government officials:

a. Demand the dismissal of the following officials:

- Mr. Trần Hồng Hà, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment for failing to take the decision at the outset to alert people about the grave situation caused by the poisoning of our seas and fish;

- Mr. Võ Tuấn Nhân, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment for having deceived the public about the true causes leading to mass killing of fish when he declared algae blooms and red tides were the culprits;

- Mr. Trương Minh Tuấn, Minister of Information and Communication System for deceiving the public with government media coverage, and deceitful articles to cover the truth. Furthermore he invited journalists to eat fish at the restaurant Hải Yến to "prove" the so-claimed food safety and the “non-poisonous” sea;

b. Demand full and frank disclosure of the volume of toxic chemicals discharged into the sea by Formosa corporation, and for them to declare the real cause of dead fish that has spread widely to numerous rivers and lakes across the country after the initial tragedy of dead fish in Vũng Áng.

c. Demand the government of Vietnam make public the cause of death of the diver named Lê Văn Ngày on April 24.4.2016 after working as a diver near or in the sea waters where ​​Formosa had discharged toxic from their steel mills. The government must make public the fates of many other divers who have died as a result in the vicinity. 

II. Altogether we will continue with more protests and more diversified activities; below are some examples:

1. To promote the use and dissemination of the slogan: "Fish Want To Live, To Live We Want" everywhere and on everything: on clothes, the internet, on the streets, on house walls and doors … to maintain the flame of the movement.

2. To wear a yellow ribbon that has the shape of fish on the chest to remember the victims of the Formosa disaster and our dying sea.

3. To organize random drops and dissemination of leaflets without announcement; or hold quick demonstrations under various forms, with small groups at different locations; and distribute brief documents summarizing the lasting environmental impacts of Formosa irresponsible discharge of toxic for university students, youths and for people in crowded markets.

4. To organize gatherings to provide networking opportunities among organizations, civil groups, human rights advocates, and religious groups in the country; Galvanize political parties abroad, civil organizations and grass-root communities to work together and form alliances to fight and turn solidarity into reality.

5. From networking efforts, to organize joint seminars with the participation of environmental experts to raise public awareness of the disaster caused by Formosa group.

6. To seek support from NGOs, environmental protection organizations in the world, especially the Environmental Program of the United Nations (UNEP) for environmental projects to study the environmental damage inflicted by the Formosa group in many parts of the world.

7. To call on Vietnamese professionals, intellectuals at home and abroad to establish an independent, professional organization to conduct environmental studies in Vietnam.

8. To organize music concerts with a theme focusing on the Sea and the Fate of Saltwater Fishermen, and to create theatricals, video clips, art programs to show the crimes of the Formosa group to encourage more participation from artists and writers.

9. To organize visits and discussions with fishermen in the central coast areas and conduct many interviews with fishermen in the affected areas to raise the world’s consciousness. To organize fundraising programs to support victims, especially the children.

10. To continue to increase internet activities with environmental protection themes, exposing the wrong doings of the Formosa group, and the supporting power behind that group as well as the people who sponsored Formosa group and helped to create a wrongful and lawless system.

Ladies and gentlemen, our dear Vietnamese fellow countrymen,

All the aforementioned is only initial suggestions which are premised on the hope that we all can work together, united and determined to stand up to turn wishful thinking into effective actions with results.

We, members of the Vietnamese Bloggers’ Network just wish to see that you fight for human rights and the protection of green trees with us. We also wish for our older generations from all walks of life and members of political entities, civil organizations, and most importantly, for tens of thousands of Vietnamese youths will join hands to make a symbol out of our “Diên Hồng spirit” for this movement for the restoration and protection of our environment, our fishery, our sovereignty in the East Sea. 

All this is to ensure that our children will enjoy a safe and healthy life, peace and freedom in their future.



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