Mai Khoi, a Vietnamese artist and dissident, awarded the 2018 Václav Havel International Prize
Human Rights Foundation, the non-governmental organization presided by the Russian chess grand-master and critic of Vladimir Putin Garry Kasparov, awarded the Vietnamese signer and dissident Mai Khoi with the Václav Havel Prize. The prize is awarded to those who fight against repressions through their art and other creative activities.
The Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent has been awarded by Human Rights Foundation in cooperation with Dagmar Havlová since 2012. Each year, three artists or groups of artists are chosen to receive the awared during the Oslo Freedom Forum. This year, apart from Mai Khoi, the award was bestowed upon the Sudanese rapper and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal and the Belarus Free Theater. The prize takes the form of the Goddess of Democracy, commemorating the statue that was created by Chinese students during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
This March, Mai Khoi was in Prague as part of a jury of One World, an international documentary film festival about human rights, organized by People in Need. She gave two concerts and discussed with people the repressive nature of the Vietnamese regime, where she is not allowed to perform. Her songs are about freedom, criticizing the authoritarian Vietnamese state, which is tightly held in the hands of the Communist Party.
Mai Khoi's award is not the first human rights prize that has been awarded to a Vietnamese citizen this year. This March, the Homo Homini prize, awarded by People in Need to individuals who have greatly contributed to the promotion of human rights, went to a Vietnamese blogger and journalist Pham Doan Trang (read more HERE). The blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (known as Mother Mushroom - Me Nam), who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for critical articles and posts on the internet, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.