Thich Quang Do
Current Status: House arrest
Other Names: Thích Quảng Độ
Date of Birth: 1928
Areas of Activism:
- Human rights
- Religious freedom
- Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
The 90 year-old Venerable Thich Quang Do, the Patriarch of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Viet Nam (UBCV), has been forced to leave the monastery where he had been confined to house arrest since October 2003. A superior monk, Thích Thanh Minh, initiated the exit, saying that Thich Quang Do had brought problems upon the monastery, likely referring to his human rights, democracy, and religious freedom advocacy. According to Radio Free Asia, "The Vietnamese government, which does not recognize the church, had been trying to move Thich Quang Do out of the monastery for the past two years, and he vowed to stay unless asked to leave by the superior monk himself." Since leaving on September 15, he had no stable residence and has since moved back to his home province, the remote Thai Binh. Despite this setback, he has vowed to continue his work.
Venerable Thích Quảng Độ is the Patriarch of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Viet Nam (UBCV). He was born in Thai Binh province and currently resides in Ho Chi Minh City. He has been the Patriarch of the UBCV since 2008.
He is a leading advocate of religious freedom, human rights and democracy. In his various capacities within the UBCV leadership, he has steadfastly refused to join the government-created Buddhist Church. He has been alternatively imprisoned, internally exiled, or under house arrest since 1977. He was awarded the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize, the Homo Homini Award (2002), and other prestigious human rights prizes.
Until October 2018, he had been confined to the Thanh Minh Zen monastery in Hồ Chí Minh City since October 2003, when security officials told him that he had been placed in administrative detention for an indefinite period.
Three UN Special Rapporteurs sent a letter to Vietnamese authorities asking for information about alleged retaliation against members of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, including Thich Quang Do, after they engaged in peaceful protests for maritime sovereignty. They asked for "the legal basis of the aforementioned restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly, opinion and expression and association" and for explanation as to "how these measures are compatible with international human rights norms and standards."
Thich Quang Do gave recorded testimony at a Geneva event about the human rights situation in Vietnam. He spoke of his own imprisonment, stating: "What is my ‘crime’? That of calling on Vietnam to respect its people’s rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, religion and belief."
Amnesty International launched a letter-writing campaign to bring awareness to Thich Quang Do's plight, calling on members of the European Parliament to press for his release during a February 2017 visit to Vietnam.
Defend the Defenders's archives
Thich Quang Do, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Appendix 2 Religious Prisoners of Conscience, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, April 2018 (PDF)
UBCV Patriarch Thích Quảng Độ is expelled from the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon, Que Me, October 8, 2018
Leader of banned Vietnam Buddhist Sect Expelled from Thanh Minh Zen Monastery, Radio Free Asia, October 8, 2018
Profile last updated: 2018-10-15 02:59:06