Global Campaign to Free Nguyen Bac Truyen
Religious Freedom Activist - Viet Nam
Twice Imprisoned as a Prisoner of Conscience
Mr. Nguyen Bac Truyen, 54, is a lawyer and Hoa Hao Buddhist who has been imprisoned twice for his peaceful advocacy for religious freedom, democratic reforms, and human rights.
Activism Behind Bars
Nguyen Bac Truyen is currently held at An Điềm Prison in Quang Nam province, 800 kilometers (500 miles) from his wife and family.
Truyen suffers from several medical ailments, including heart valve disease, gastritis, back pain, and swollen joints. Despite numerous requests, he has not had a proper medical examination since his arrest in 2017. In a September 2020 report, the UN Secretary General raised concerns about Truyen’s worsening health and lack of proper medical care in prison: “Since his arrest in July 2017, Mr. Nguyen Bac Truyen has reportedly not had a proper medical examination, faces restrictions of food and medical supplies, and his health condition has deteriorated. A petition on 18 January 2020 to the Board of Supervisors at An Diem prison requesting a medical check reportedly remains unanswered.”
In prison, Truyen has led hunger strikes in May 2019 and November 2020 to protest mistreatment of fellow prisoners, inadequate medical care, confiscation of mail, and other violations of prisoners’ rights under Vietnamese and international law.
International Recognition and Action
Truyen’s human rights work has earned him the 2011 Hellman-Hammett Award by Human Rights Watch and the 2020 Stefanus Alliance International Prize.
The United Nations Secretary General, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and six UN Special Rapporteurs have sent numerous communications to the Vietnamese government regarding the harsh persecution and harassment of Truyen and his family, official reprisals for their cooperation with UN human rights representatives, and Truyen’s arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, imprisonment, and mistreatment in custody.
In 2020, 68 parliamentarians in 28 countries called for Truyen’s release as part of a global campaign led by the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief and the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
Concerns about Truyen’s arbitrary arrest and imprisonment have also been raised by the U.S. State Department, the German Federal Commissioner on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, and members of the German Bundestag, European Parliament, and US Congress,
What you can do:
Send a letter or postcard calling for Nguyen Bac Truyen’s immediate and unconditional release to:
► Mr. To Lam, Minister of Public Security, 44 Yet Kieu St., Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
► Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, 2 Hung Vuong St., Ba Dinh, Hanoi.
► Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary, Communist Party of Vietnam, 1A Hung Vuong St., Ba Dinh, Hanoi.
For a sample letter, please click here.
Send a personal letter to Nguyen Bac Truyen at:
► An Diem Prison, Dai Hung commune, Dai Loc district, Quang Nam province, Vietnam.
► Or call: +84 (0235) 377 4502.
This song is a collaboration among three prisoners of conscience who have served a combination of more than 60 years’ imprisonment.
The lyrics are based on a poem by Son Nguyen Thanh Dien, a political dissident who was imprisoned for 16 years.
The music was composed by Nguyen Huu Cau, a prisoner of conscience who served a total of 37 years of imprisonment and Nguyen Bac Truyen, a religious rights advocate who is currently serving his second prison term of 11 years’ imprisonment followed by 3 years’ probation.
During Nguyen Bac Truyen’s first prison term, his mother, who was in her seventies at the time and in poor health, still tried to make the long trips to visit him in prison and send him “care packages”. At night, Truyen and his cellmates looked at the gifts and missed their mothers dearly. In prison, there’s no incense with which the prisoners could pray for their mothers’ good health. Therefore, they lit cigarettes, instead.
Sadly, Truyen’s mother passed away in November 2021 while he was serving his second prison sentence. She had not been able to see her son for more than four years. Truyen was not allowed to have his sentence briefly suspended so that he could return home to attend her funeral and perform his filial duty according to Vietnamese custom.
In this video clip -- made prior to Truyen’s second imprisonment in 2017 -- he sang this song during his lunch break in the church corridor while working at the Redemptorist Order’s Justice and Peace Office as the coordinator of its assistance program for disabled veterans of South Vietnam.
-- CFVD Media
Release Nguyen Bac Truyen Now!