Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment (VOICE) is a U.S. 501(c)3 non-profit organisation. We registered in the U.S. in 2007 with a mission of working towards promoting civil and political rights and strengthening civil society in Southeast Asia with a focus on Vietnam.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last October 2020, VOICE had to temporarily suspend our training program while hoping that it will be reactivated once the situation improves. Unfortunately, the pandemic not only couldn’t be contained but is in fact getting worse especially in the Philippines where we hold our training program annually.
Given the pandemic’s unexpected turns with grave consequences for all and to ensure safety for both participants and organizers as well as other related parties, we have thus decided to suspend VOICE’s training program indefinitely. Since the training program is VOICE’s core activity in support of civil society development in Vietnam over the past ten years, this decision also means VOICE will stop working on civil society development issues in Vietnam from now on.
VOICE’s other activity in support of refugees from Vietnam and the remaining pending cases will continue while VOICE’s independent affiliates such as VOICE Australia, VOICE Canada, VOICE Norway, etc. set up by VOICE’s friends and supporters in their respective countries, will also continue to operate in accordance with their own missions.
For more information, see Closure of VOICE’s Civil Society Program.
1. Refugee Resettlement
We advocate and find durable solutions for refugees from Vietnam who have to seek asylum due to their persecution from the Vietnamese government for their human rights work and peaceful activism. In our refugee work today, we remember the roots of our organization which began as a legal aid office to assist almost 3,000 stateless Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines gain asylum from 1997 to 2009.
2. Civil Society Programs
On 11 May 2021, the below Civil Society Programs have been suspended indefinitely.
Our six-month internship program is designed to train committed human rights social activists from Vietnam and to equip them with new tools to become more effective leaders in civil society. We provide the activists with more robust knowledge on content areas such as Vietnamese history, political ideologies, advocacy, human rights mechanisms, English lessons, as well as to develop functional skills according to the interns’ capacity and interests, such as in communications, multimedia skills, and project management, etc.
We run specific campaigns aimed at promoting fundamental rights in tandem with our in-country partners and INGOs using UN human rights mechanisms and dialogues between Vietnam and Australia, the US, and the EU.
Additionally, by providing a space for networking in our capacity-building program, VOICE connects the Vietnamese HRDs to representatives from regional and international mechanisms, enabling further opportunities for advocacy.
Civil Society Support
We assist in the creation and management of civil society projects in Vietnam, especially those engineered by our former and current interns.