Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Government interference expected in funeral of Viet Nam’s top dissident monk

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged the Vietnamese government not to interfere in the funeral of the country’s leading dissident Buddhist monk, Agence France-Presse reported the same day.

Since the passing last week of Thich Huyen Quang, head of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), UBCV members have been attacked in state media as “extremist elements disguised as Buddhist monks.”

While the UBCV has announced plans to have UBCV deputy and likely successor Thich Quang Do preside over a ceremony on Friday, Hanoi has moved to ensure that the funeral will be a government-controlled affair, saying that the state-sanctioned Buddhist church will run the event.

“Thich Huyen Quan gave up his liberty for 30 years in a quest for greater human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “His followers should be allowed to pay their last respects without government interference.”

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