Imprisoned Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay wins PEN Canada’s One Humanity Award

TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2013 — /CNW/ – Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay will receive the One Humanity Award at PEN Canada’s annual benefit at the 34th International Festival of Authors (IFOA) on October 24, 2013. The award recognizes Dieu Cay’s courageous dissent and continued advocacy for human rights in Vietnam despite a crackdown on online writing by the authorities.

The One Humanity Award of $5,000 is given by PEN Canada to a writer whose work “transcends the boundaries of national divides and inspires connections across cultures.” The award will be given, in absentia, as Dieu Cay is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for “conducting propaganda against the state.”

Sixty-one-year-old Dieu Cay, born Nguyễn Văn Hải, has been a pioneer in using online social networks to expose corruption and human rights violations in Vietnam. He rose to prominence in the blogosphere as an outspoken advocate for democratic reforms and is well known for his denunciation of China’s foreign policy towards Vietnam, an opinion that eventually led to his imprisonment.

In 2008 Dieu Cay received an award from the Vietnam Human Rights Network for his commitment to freedom of speech. The following year he received the Hellman/Hammett-award from Human Rights Watch.

“Dieu Cay’s voice has been unwavering in the face of government pressure, confronting issues that Vietnam’s mainstream media avoid. Sadly, he is one of more than a dozen bloggers imprisoned for nothing more than peaceful dissent,” said Jim Creskey, chair of PEN Canada’s Writers in Prison Committee.