Vietnamese doctor to receive human rights award from NY Academy of Sciences

Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, a 61-year old Vietnamese medical doctor who has dedicated his life to improving the lives of the Vietnamese people and who has spent nearly 25 years in prison or under house arrest, has been named the recipient of the 2004 Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award by the New York Academy of Sciences.

The Pagels prize, awarded annually in recognition of services on behalf of the human rights of scientists, will be bestowed at the Academy's Annual Meeting on Monday, September 13, 2004. at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Que will be cited "in recognition of his courage and singular moral responsibility as a medical doctor committed to the welfare and health care of the Vietnamese people and for peacefully promoting human rights in Vietnam."

Joseph L.Birman, chair of the Academy's human rights committee, said that Dr. Que was chosen because of his "unwavering efforts to improve the daily lives of people in Vietnam and to promote a peaceful transition to democracy and freedom there." Prof. Birman added that Dr. Que, who is the founder of the Vietnamese Non-Violent Movement for Human Rights, was rearrested in March 2003 and has been held incommunicado since then.

Clinic for the Poor

Dr. Que has been committed to providing medical care for the poor since graduating from medical school in 1966, including a free clinic he founded and staffed with volunteer doctors, nurses, and medical students. One of the first of many examples of his civil courage was his willingness to treat students and others who were injured during demonstrations against the government.

After further medical studies in Europe under a scholarship from the World Health Organization, Dr. Que returned to Vietnam to join the Saigon University Faculty of Medicine and, later, director of the Cho-Ray Hospital. He also resumed his work at the free medical clinic, where he became well know for his efforts on behalf of the poor, especially from rural areas.

Contact: Fred Moreno
212-838-0230 x230
New York Academy of Sciences

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