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Thich Quang Do

Vietnamese Buddhist monk, rights advocate, and political prisoner

Asia-Pacific and South Asia

Thich Quang Do is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, rights advocate, and outspoken critic of the Vietnamese government who is currently under internal exile and house arrest. Since 2008, Thich Quang Do has been the patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), an organization banned by the government. Through petitions, Thich Quang Do has peacefully campaigned for democratic reforms, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and pluralism. He has been arrested, interrogated, and harassed numerous times for his outspoken criticism and advocacy efforts, and has spent a total of nearly three decades in detention. Thich Quang Do was arrested and tortured under the Diem government. After the fall of the Diem regime, he was released and became the spokesman of the UBCV. During the Vietnam War, Thich Quang Do and other UBCV leaders campaigned for peace. When the Communist Party took power in 1975, the government brutally cracked down on Buddhism and the UBCV. Thich Quang Do was sent into internal exile in 1982, in a remote village where he spent ten years under house arrest. Though he has not been convicted of any crime, he is currently under house arrest in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2015, 90 international prominent artists, religious leaders and civil society NGO leaders wrote a letter to President Barack Obama demanding he pressure Vietnam to release Thich Quang Do. Amnesty International continues to write hundreds of letters to world leaders who visit Vietnam urging them to demand his release. He is the recipient of the Rafto Prize, the Democracy Courage Tribute by the World Movement for Democracy, the Homo Homini Award, and the Hellman-Hammett Award. He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize nine times.

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