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Jakarta Post

Amnesty International presses for Vietnamese dissident monk's release

Amnesty International presses for Vietnamese dissident monk's release Statue of the Buddha in Vietnam. (Shutterstock/File)
News Desk
Jakarta   ●   Wed, March 1, 2017

Campaigners from Amnesty International sent letters to European Parliament members who recently visited Vietnam to urge them to call for the release of Buddhist dissident Thich Quang Do, who is currently under house arrest in Ho Chi Minh City, the organization has announced.

The campaign led by Amnesty International's Boston, US, chapter called on members of the parliament’s subcommittee on human rights visiting Hanoi between Feb. 20 and 24, to put pressure for the release of Thich, the leader of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV).

Seventy letters, signed by individuals, were sent to subcommittee chairman Pier Antonio Panzeri’s office in Brussels before his delegation's departure for Hanoi, Amnesty International's statement made available on Wednesday said.

"Notwithstanding years of imprisonment, both actual and under 'house arrest', oppression of religious and political beliefs and convictions, screening and surveillance of all outside contacts, and limited access to health services, he [Thich] has nevertheless become an international symbol and inspiration for religious freedom and non-violence," the letters said.

Alvin Jacobson who coordinated Amnesty International's campaign, has also informed the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) about the letters they sent to Panzeri.

His group had "written hundreds, if not thousands, of letters" to both Vietnamese and US officials, including former US president Barack Obama, as well as US-based corporations doing business in Vietnam, calling for Thich's release but to no avail, said Jacobson. (ipa)