On September 8th, 2016, Buddhist monks of Lien Tri Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City were forcibly evicted by the authorities in preparation for the demolition of the structure, allegedly for urban development purposes.
The demolition of Lien Tri Pagoda and the eviction of the monks marked the culmination of a prolonged and tense period of harassment by the authorities of the pagoda’s occupants and of its worshippers.
During the clearance, police forcibly blocked supporters from entering the site as they attempted to join the monks’ protest against the eviction. The pagoda’s resident abbot, Most Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, had to be hospitalized due to nervous shock and exhaustion.
Lien Tri Pagoda represents an important place of worship for Buddhists over seven decades, and also serves as a key centre for social and charity activities by the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. The move against Lien Tri Pagoda involved hundreds of security personnel was a clear sign of Vietnam authorities’ continued repression against freedom of religion in general and against the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam in particular.
The September 8th planned demolition of Lien Tri Pagoda and the forced eviction of monks have been unequivocally denounced and condemned by many Vietnamese civil society organizations in Vietnam and in the Diaspora through this Statement http://www.vietnamhumanrights.net/website/160911_VNHRN.htm
Please sign this petition now to urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to press Vietnam to immediately stop its current violations of freedom of religion as evidenced against Lien Tri Pagoda. Specifically, the pagoda and its land are to be returned to the Most Venerable Thich Khong Tanh and his followers, and appropriate compensation for damages is to be paid.
This petition will be delivered to:
- United Nations Human Rights Council
- International Buddhist Confederation
- United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt
- President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang