Human Rights for the Hoa Hao Buddhist Church in VN sign now

- His Excellency Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations
- His Excellency George W. Bush, United States President
- His Holiness Father Benedictus XVI, Vatican State
- Honorable Presidents/Prime Ministers, All nations around the world
- Honorable Members, Congresses/ Parliaments of all nations around the world
- Honorable Members, Non-governmental organizations for human rights and/or religious freedom




Dear Mesdames , Dear Sirs,


August 13, 2005



We are writing to express our deep concern on Vietnam's escalated persecution of Hoa Hao Buddhists in recent months. The severity of the repression has become so dire that two Hoa Hao Buddhists have self-immolated in protest.

In the morning of August 5, the government of Vietnam initiated its bloody crackdown. The local police in An Giang and Dong Thap provinces began a systematic beating and arresting campaign against Hoa Hao Buddhists in the regions. Mr. Vo Van Buu and Mr. Tran Van Ut have self-immolated to protest this latest wave of brutal repression. Latest sources in Vietnam reported that Mr. Tran has died and Mr. Vo will probably not survive due to severe burn.

Hoa Hao Buddhist Monk Vo Van Thanh Liem was arrested by the local police in front of Quang Minh Tu Buddhist Temple. In June of this year, per Congressman Christopher Smiths invitation, monk Vo Van Thanh Liem submitted his written statements to the hearing entitled Human Rights in Vietnam.

In addition, more than ten Hoa Hao Buddhists have been arrested, imprisoned or simply disappeared. The local police have increased surveillance on Hoa Hao Buddhists, cut their phone lines and restricted movement in and out of their own homes.

In June of this year, in his first visit to the U.S., Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai committed to you that Vietnam will address its religious freedom record. However, this latest wave of attack against peaceful Hoa Hao Buddhists clearly shows that the government of Vietnam, despite all rhetoric, is in fact increasing its oppression against religions.

We implore you to use your compassion and leadership to start a strong and immediate intervention on the government of Vietnam. Please press Vietnam to:

-Immediately cease all violence suppression against Hoa Hao Buddhists.
-Release all Hoa Hao Buddhists who have been wrongfully convicted or imprisoned.
-Investigate reports of suppression, including arbitrary detention of Hoa Hao Buddhists in An Giang and Dong Thap provinces.
-Investigate and punish those responsible for all instances of violence against Hoa Hao Buddhists, including by civilians acting in concert with government officials.
-Allow Hoa Hao Buddhists to exercise their freedom of religion and participate in independent religious activities.

The only way to ensure that Vietnam takes substantive and significant steps towards full respect for the religious freedom is to measure its governments rhetoric against specific demands.

We look forward to your leadership in making the promotion of religious freedom and other human rights an integral part of our countrys foreign policy.

Sincerely,

Nguyen Thanh Long
Chairman

Sydney Tran
Communication Officer

Hoa Hao Buddhist Church
12509 Milestone Manor Lane, Germantown, MD 20876
Tel: (240) 447-2549
Fax: (772) 619-8329
E-mail: [email protected]
Webpage: www.hoahao.org

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Merle NealBy:
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