Award citation for The Venerable Thich Thien Minh
By Dr. Nguyen Ba Tung
Venerable Thich Thien Minh was born in 1955 in Bac Lieu with secular name Huynh Van Ba. He became a monk in 1972 at the pagoda Long Phuoc, in Bac Lieu province. After taking power in 1975, The Communist government has dictated a policy of religion and human right repression. Led by his conviction in basic rights and freedom, Thich Thien Minh began his non-violent resistance to the government’s oppression. He was arrested on March 28, 1979, tried by the people’s court for “plotting to overthrow the government”, and sentenced to life in prison where he was savagely tortured for several years. Worthy of note is that in 1986 the Communists opened another trial in the camp, and gave him another life sentence. Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, the U.N. Special Rapporter on Religious Intolerance acknowledged that Thich Thien Minh is a “prisoner of conscience” after visiting him in prison. Under international pressure, the Communists had to release him on Tet 2005 holiday. Although having spent 26 years in prison, Venerable Thich Thien Minh has refused to be intimidated and continues his relentless fight for the release of all political and religious prisoners in Vietnam. In October 2006, Venerable Thich Thien Minh, along with other former political and religious prisoners, founded the Vietnamese Political and Religious Prisoners Friendship Association in Vietnam whose goal is to advocate for the legitimate rights of former prisoners, as well as the freedom and basic rights of 85 million people in the country..
Venerable Thich Thien Minh’s enduring struggle for human rights is worthy of praise from all who respect human dignity and freedom. Vietnam human Rights Network has the honor to present Vietnam Human Rights Award to Venerable Thich Thien Minh on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Vietnam Human Rights Network