Patriarch Thích Quảng Độ (1928) received the 2006 Rafto Prize for his personal courage and perseverance through three decades of peaceful opposition against the communist regime in Vietnam, and for being a symbol for the growing democracy movement in the country.
Thích Quảng Độ is one of Vietnam’s most prominent defenders of democracy, religious freedom and human rights, an intellectual leader and a unifying force in Vietnam. In August 2008 he took up the post of Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, a currently banned organisation in Vietnam.
He has devoted his life to the advancement of justice and the Buddhist tradition of non-violence, tolerance and compassion. Through political petitions, Thích Quảng Độ has challenged the authorities to engage in discussions about democratic reforms, pluralism, and freedom of religion, human rights and national reconciliation. This has provided strength and direction to the democracy movement.
Thích Quảng Độ has paid a high price for his activism. He has spent many years in prison and today he is still under house arrest in Saigon in Vietnam. The Buddhist Patriarch is one of the many Rafto laureates who have been unable to visit Bergen to collect the prize.
"The Communist regime fears the power of free thinking so they keep me locked in my pagoda. I am isolated, but I am not alone. I am part of the Rafto family."
Video: One of the few interviews of Thích Quảng Độ under house arrest (Oslo Freedom Forum, 2010)