Thích Quảng Độ
Thích Quảng Độ (born 27 November 1928) is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, a currently banned religious body in Vietnam. In 2002, he was awarded the Homo Homini Award for human rights activism by the Czech group People In Need, which he shared with Thích Huyền Quang and Nguyễn Văn Lý.
Thích Quảng Độ was born in the Thái Bình Province of North Vietnam, at 14 he became a monk. At age 17 he witnessed his religious master executed by the revolutionary People’s Tribunal.
While a member of the leadership of the UBCV, Thích Quảng Độ became an activist, fighting against the anti-Buddhist policies of Ngo Dinh Diem. After a police raid of Buddhist monasteries in Hue and Saigon, Quảng Độ was arrested on August 20, 1963. He and thousands of other Buddhists endured torture and persecution while imprisoned by the Diem government. As a result of imprisonment, Do struggled with tuberculosis before having a lung operation.
In 1975 Vietnam was under communist control, and the UBCV was once again unwelcome in Vietnam. As a result the UBCV facilities were seized, and documents burned. Quảng Độ was active in protesting the governments actions, and after attempting to gather Buddhists from other regions in non-violent opposition, he was arrested on charges of anti-revolutionary activities and undermining national solidarity. He spent 20 months at the Phan Dang Luu Prison in solitary confinement, before he was tried and released in December, 1978. Later that year he was nominated by Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1982 the Vietnamese Government created a Buddhist alternative, called the Vietnam Buddhist Church, which was state sponsored and controlled by the Vietnam Fatherland Front. Because of Quảng Độ's opposition to the new church, he was again jailed. Quảng Độ would spend the next 10 years in exile in the village of Vu Doai.
Yet again in 1995, while attempting to expose government abuse of the UBCV, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison.
Thích Quảng Độ became the President of the UBCV’s Institute for the Dissemination of the Dharma in 1999, meaning that he was the second-ranking UBCV dignitary after patriarch Thich Huyen Quang. In 2008, as one of his last wishes Partriarch Quang named Thích Quảng Độ as the new patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
In 2001, he received the Hellman-Hammet Award for persecuted writers. In 2003, Thích Quảng Độ was honored with the Homo Homini Award, by the people in need foundation. In 2002, he was awarded the Homo Homini Award for human rights activism by the Czech group People in Need, which he shared with Thích Huyền Quảng and Nguyễn Văn Lý.
In 2006, Thích Quảng Độ was awarded the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize, in recognition of "personal courage and perseverance through three decades of peaceful opposition against the communist regime in Vietnam, and as a symbol for the growing democracy movement”. Thích Quảng Độ was unable to the receive the award, as the government prevented him from attending the ceremony
In 2006, Thích Quảng Độ was also awarded the Democracy Courage Tribute by the World Movement for Democracy.
In January 2008, the Europe-based magazine A Different View chose Độ as one of the 15 Champions of World Democracy. Others in the list include Nelson Mandela, Lech Wałęsa, Corazon Aquino, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
9 time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
- Self-Immolation 'Only Possible Recourse', RFA, 2012-02-17
- "Previous Recipients of the Homo Homini Award". People In Need. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- "Profile on Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam". Biography. Que me. Retrieved 5/3/2012.