PARIS, 6 June 2001 (VCHR) – Mr Olivier Dupuis, Member of the European Parliament and Secretary-general of the Transnational Radical Party is staging a sit-in today inside the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery at 90 Tran Huy Lieu Street, Phu Nhuan Ward, Ho Chi Minh City, to protest Vietnam’s arbitrary detention of prominent Buddhist dissident and Nobel Peace prize nominee Venerable Thich Quang Do. Mr Dupuis intends to stay with Thich Quang Do inside the Monastery until the Vietnamese Government withdraws the arbitrary 2-year «administrative detention» sentence and allows the monk to travel to Quang Ngai Province to escort UBCV Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang back to Ho Chi Minh City for medical treatment.
Before leaving his hotel for the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery at 8.00 a.m. this morning (Vietnam time), Mr Dupuis told the International Buddhist Information Bureau in Paris by telephone: “My presence here as a European citizen and TRP Secretary-general is an act of solidarity with all those in Asia in general and particularly in Vietnam who have struggled for decades for the establishment of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental freedoms”.
Shocked by the recent wave of Police repression against the UBCV following Thich Quang Do’s announced trip to Quang Ngai on June 7th to bring home the ailing 83-year-old UBCV Patriarch, Mr Dupuis decided to travel from Brussels to Vietnam to support the victims. Mr Dupuis is the first Westerner in twenty-six years, since the fall of Saigon in April 1975, to stage a public protest in solidarity with dissidents in Communist Vietnam. A long-standing advocate of democracy in Asia, Mr Dupuis has spearheaded two important Resolutions on Vietnam at the European Parliament. In the most recent Resolution, adopted on November 16th 2000 (following the Government clampdown on the UBCV Rescue Mission for Flood victims in the Mekong Delta), the European Parliament called on Vietnam to initiate “radical political reforms”, lift restrictions on freedom of the press, abolish the death penalty, release all prisoners of conscience – including Thich Huyen Quang – and allow the UBCV and NGOs to organize humanitarian relief missions without Government interference. Mr Dupuis is also one of many European M.P.s who nominated Thich Quang Do for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
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