November 6, 2015
Washington, D.C. – Today, the law firm Woodley & McGillivary was presented with the 2015 Frances Perkins Public Service Award by the Labor and Employment Section of the American Bar Association. The award is for the firm’s pro bono work with Freedom Now on the case of imprisoned Vietnamese labor activists Doan Huy Chuong, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, and Do Thi Minh Hanh.
“We are delighted that the American Bar Association has recognized Woodley & McGillivary for its pro bono contributions and commitment to human rights,” said Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner. “The firm has been a key partner in crafting a legal and advocacy strategy that has placed considerable pressure on the Vietnamese government to release the three activists and has so far helped secure the release of Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh.”
“It is an honor to receive this year’s Frances Perkins Award,” said Greg McGillivary, partner with Woodley & McGillivary and Freedom Now Board Member. “It is our sincere hope that soon we will be able to celebrate our accomplishments with Ms. Do, Mr. Doan, and Mr. Nguyen.”
Ms. Do, Mr. Doan, and Mr. Nguyen were arrested in February 2010 after the trio attempted to organize striking workers at a shoe factory and circulated a list of the workers’ demands. Authorities held the activists for six months before eventually charging them under Vietnam’s controversial national security laws. Just ten days after being charged, the trio were tried—without the assistance of legal counsel and without the right to speak in their own defense—and sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison. The activists have been repeatedly beaten, subjected to solitary confinement, and suffered from ill-health as a result of the mistreatment and poor prison conditions.
In October 2012, Woodley & McGillivary submitted a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of the imprisoned activists. The Working Group found that the detention of Ms. Do, Mr. Doan, and Mr. Nguyen violated Vietnam’s obligations under international law and called for their release. Ms. Do was released in June 2014, but Mr. Doan and Mr. Nguyen remain in prison. Woodley & McGillivary and Freedom Now continue to actively work for their release.