Washington – Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran announced today that they have written a letter to Dr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, nominating Dr. Nguyen Dan Que of Vietnam for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
“For more than 30 years Dr. Que has tirelessly fought for human rights in Vietnam,” said Connolly. “His unwavering dedication to human rights, at extraordinary personal cost, exemplifies the ideals of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is my hope the international community will honor this heroic commitment to freedom and democracy.”
“Dr. Que’s quiet, steadfast work for democracy is a breath of hope for those who suffered imprisonment in Vietnam for daring to claim their inalienable rights as human beings,” said Rep. Moran. “It was an honor to recommend Dr. Que for this recognition.”
In 1976, frustrated by a lack of basic human rights in his country, Dr. Que founded the National Progressive Front, calling on the government to invest in the welfare of the Vietnamese people and hold free and fair elections. In response, the communist government arrested Dr. Que and held him in detention for 10 years. During his imprisonment Dr. Que was tortured, beaten, and put in solitary confinement. In 1988 Dr. Que was released.
In the intervening years Dr. Que has continued the struggle for democracy in Vietnam. In 1991 he was once again arrested and sentenced to twenty years of hard labor. He was released in August 1998 and told to go into exile. Dr. Que refused, saying, “Exile is not freedom.” In 2003 he was arrested a third time, charged with espionage, and sentenced to two and half years. In 2005 Dr. Que was released and placed under “house arrest.”
Despite nearly 30 years of imprisonment, torture, and abuse Dr. Que remains committed to realizing democracy in Vietnam. On December 10, 2010 he and 214 dissidents signed the Declaration of Vietnamese Patriots, condemning the violations of human rights by the Vietnamese Communist regime, and calling on the government to respect basic human rights, accept a multi-party system, and allow the Vietnamese people to choose their own form of government through free and fair elections.