The International Buddhist Information Bureau (IBIB) is informed by the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) that Security Police in Binh Dinh province have prohibited UBCV Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang from travelling to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) for medical examinations at the Franco-Vietnamese hospital. In October 2006, the 87-year old Patriarch received treatment for heart and lung conditions and underwent minor surgery on his prostate gland. The hospital gave him an appointment the end of December 2006 so that doctors could monitor his progress.
However, when a delegation of UBCV monks arriving at the Nguyen Thieu Monastery in Binh Dinh to escort Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang to Saigon, he told them that local Security Police had prohibited him from travelling. “You are not allowed to travel to Ho Chi Minh City for medical treatment, and Thich Quang Do is strictly forbidden to come and visit you here”, they said. Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang asked who had issued these orders and demanded they produce written evidence, but the Police refused.
“It is intolerable that Hanoi prevents this elderly Buddhist leader from receiving medical care”, declared Mr. Vo Van Ai, UBCV international spokesman. “Sadly, this confirms our predictions that Hanoi would continue “business as usual” in religious repression once it obtained removal from the blacklist of “Countries of Particular Concern” and won PNTR trading status from the United States”. Mr Ai added that “over the past few weeks, we have observed a significant increase in religious abuses, notably against the UBCV, the Protestants and Hoa Hao Buddhists. Hanoi no longer feels the need to pretend. Whilst cynically continuing to tell the international community that the UBCV’s leaders “totally free”, the authorities blatantly violate Thich Huyen Quang’s basic right to freedom of movement and inviolability of the individual, rights that are enshrined in the Vietnamese Constitution and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam acceded in 1982.”
l Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ms. Mairead Corrigan Maguire has nominated Venerable Thich Quang Do for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. In a Press Release issued on 1, January 2007, Ms Maguire cited extracts from her nomination letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo : “I believe Thich Quang Do would make an excellent Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and would be a truly worthy candidate because of his life’s work and dedication to the cause of freedom and peace. Also, I believe that the question of religious freedom is vitally important, and Thich Quang Do plays a unique role in this domain. Buddhism is at the forefront of the peaceful struggle for the rights of all Vietnamese people, and it also lays the foundations of a common movement for democratization in Asia, as the examples of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have shown. By suppressing Buddhism, Vietnam is not only gravely violating Human Rights, but stifling the peaceful voices of Vietnam’s largest civil society movement and jeopardizing the peaceful transition to democracy. Thich Quang Do’s example of nonviolent struggle for human rights and democracy is not only meaningful in Vietnam, but for many people around the world. He is indeed a great symbol of spirituality and love in action for freedom and democracy in Vietnam.”