Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Few Moments With Hoi

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 4, 2007

We were honored to spend some time yesterday with Hoi Trinh. Hoi has assisted in obtaining the freedom fof thousands of Vietnamese refugees.

Hoi Trinh was born in 1970 in Saigon. At the age of 15, he left Vietnam and came to Australia as a refugee. Hoi’s Dad was an English teacher. Hoi’s Dad spent three years in the re-education camps of Communist Vietnam after Saigon fell in 1975. Bud he quickly returned to the embrace of his family.

Hoi graduated from Melbourne University Law School with combined degrees of BA and LLB. At the age of 29, he served as an associate to Justice Susan Kenny on the Federal Court of Australia. After receiving the 1999 Young Australian Lawyer of the Year award, he was then chosen for the Chevening-Oxford Australia Scholarship that allowed him to complete his Master of Studies on International Refugee Laws and Policies at Oxford University, England, in 2002.

Hoi Trinh has written numerous publications in law journals and articles for newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register. However, it is his volunteer work with the Vietnamese boat people in Southeast Asia that he has earned him international recognition. With his law experience, he assisted boat people in Hong Kong with resettlement. Recognizing his community work the Sydney Olympic Organizing Committee chose him to carry the Olympic flame in its final stretches to the 2000 Games.

Hoi has lived and worked in Manila, the Philippines, assisting some 2,000 stateless Vietnamese refugees with resettlement.

In our short period of time with Hoi, he told me he currently has three priorities:

--Refugee Protection. There are currently only a few hundred Vietnamese refugees left in the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos. Hoi is working to bring them to freedom.

--Fighting against the trafficking of human beings in Southeast Asia. Hoi and I agreed that the trafficking in Asian women is a crisis that needs to be addressed at the international level.

--Creating an environment in Vietnam that embraces Civil Society. Today Vietnam has no Non-Government Organizations like the one Hoi has propelled into world cognizance. He wants to create an environment of caring and understanding of world issues and concerns among the youth of Vietnam.

An ending is a new beginning

On Thursday, December 28, 2006, Hoi wrote, “My paternal grandpa passed away two weeks ago in Sài Gòn at 85. He grew up poor and died just the same way, leaving pretty much nothing behind. Except perhaps his tiny one-bedroom apartment where my grandma, three of their adult children with their spouses and four of their grandchildren cram in to subsist. And a rich legacy among his 20-odd grandchildren, myself included, of how generous and caring a man he turned out to be, especially in times of crisis.”

Hoi assisted in obtaining the freedom of my own wife Hong Lien and he directly influenced the freedom of Lien’s cousin Tan, who is with us now in the United States.

We at Peace and Freedom are proud to be associated with Hoi Trinh and his colleagues.