06/03/2006, 00.00
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Charter 77 backs Vietnam dissidents

In an open letter, signatories of the historic Czechoslovak document, expressed their support for the non-violent struggle of Vietnamese dissidents for pluralism and respect for human rights.

Prague (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Signatories of Charter 77, a human rights movement in Czechoslovakia, have written an open letter to back Vietnamese dissidents in their struggle for freedom and democracy. This was revealed on 31 May by Vaclav Trojan, one of 50 people who put their name to the letter, together with famous personalities like Vaclav Havel, former president of Czech Republic, Jiri Dienstbier, ex foreign affairs minister, Bishop Vaclav Maly and Rabbi Karol Sidon.

Last April, 118 Vietnamese dissidents signed a declaration on freedom for Vietnam in which they called on the government to change the political system. "To date, a total of 1,250 Vietnamese citizens have signed the declaration," Trojan said.

The dissidents called for non-violent and denounced the totalitarian power structures of the Communist government. They said plurality and competition were absent in the country.

The Charter 77 signatories wrote: "We highly appreciate your brave statement and we know you are aware that you risk persecution by the authorities. When the Charter 77 document was released, our country was in a similar political situation."

Many analysts say police training in Vietnam, aimed at controlling society, associations and religions, was carried out by Czechoslovak Communist personnel.

The Charter 77 signatories hope their support will encourage the regime opponents. Charter 77 was established in 1976 by people of different convictions, beliefs and professions, with the aim of promoting respect for human rights in then Communist Czechoslovakia and elsewhere. The dissidents issued Charter 77 on 1 January, 1977. By 1990 it had been signed by 1,800 people. The association formally terminated its activities in November 1989, after the collapse of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

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