Vietnamese Buddhist monk takes a breath of freedom

Prisoner of conscience Thich Tri Luc has been resettled in Sweden. He has expressed thanks “from the bottom of my heart… to [those to] whom I owe my freedom.”

Thich Tri Luc, a former Buddhist monk and member of the non state-sanctioned Unified Buddhist Church of Viet Nam (UBCV), fled from Viet Nam to Cambodia to seek asylum after suffering years of persecution by the Vietnamese authorities. He was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International on two previous occasions before he left Viet Nam in early 2002, and in between periods spent in prison was subjected to house arrest, harassment, short term detention, and deprivation of basic rights by the authorities because of his membership of the UBCV and his peaceful religious activities.

Thich Tri Luc’s case was considered of vital importance and emblematic for AI campaigning and advocacy because of its focus on serious human rights violations in both Viet Nam and Cambodia: religious persecution in Viet Nam and Cambodia’s failure to honor its commitments under the Refugee Convention.