Nguyen Van Hung (human rights activist)

Nguyen Van Hung (human rights activist)

Peter Nguyen Van Hung (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Văn Hùng; Chinese: 阮文雄, born 1958) is a Vietnamese Australian Catholic priest and human rights activist on Taiwan, recognised by the U.S. Department of State as a "hero acting to end modern day slavery".[1][2][3]

Contents

Early life

Hùng grew up in a lower-middle class family outside of Binh Tuy Province, with two brothers and five sisters; his father was a Fisherman, but died after a long battle with illness, forcing his mother, a devout Catholic with roots in the country's northern half, to become the family's main breadwinner. Hùng himself absorbed his mother's faith and devotion to helping the less fortunate from an early age; he was an admirer of Francis of Assisi, and often stole food from his own family to feed to the poor. He left Vietnam in 1979 on an overcrowded boat; rescued by a Norwegian-flagged ship after just 36 hours and taken to Japan, he joined the Missionary Society of St. Columban upon his arrival.[4] He lived in Japan for three years, studying and taking a variety of jobs to support himself, including as a highway repairman, steel factory worker, and gravedigger.[5] He first came to Taiwan in 1988 as a missionary, after which he went to Sydney, Australia to study at a seminary there. He was ordained in 1991.[2][4] The following year, he came to Taiwan again.[5]

Work in Taiwan

Hùng established the Vietnamese Migrant Workers and Brides Office in Taoyuan County in 2004 to offer assistance to Vietnamese immigrants in Taiwan. Vietnamese American radio station Little Saigon Radio and others helped him to rent the second floor of a grammar school; two seventy square foot rooms offer sleeping space, while two others are used for office space.[6] They provide Mandarin classes, room and board, and legal assistance. His exposure of abuses against foreign labourers and brides led the U.S. State Department to list Taiwan as a "Tier 2" region alongside countries such as Cambodia due to their lack of effort in combating human trafficking, which proved a major international embarrassment for the island's government. His work has also made him the target of intimidation in Taiwan, as a result of which he no longer goes out at night.[4] Though he feels has personally received a friendly reception by people on Taiwan, he harshly criticises the classism of the society which leads people to treat manual labourers and domestic workers like "servants" and justify a variety of abuses of them.[7]

Hobbies

Outside of his work, Hùng enjoys playing the guitar and painting Chinese paintings. His mother lives in Sydney.[4]

References

  1. ^ "III. Heroes Acting To End Modern Day Slavery". Trafficking in Persons Report. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, United States Department of State. 2006-06-05. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/67020.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  2. ^ a b Fan, Wen-pin (2005-08-15). "外籍神父博愛無私 為外勞及外籍新娘點燃希望之光 (Foreign priests' selfless love - lighting the spark of hope for foreign workers and brides)" (in Chinese). Eastern Television News. http://www.nownews.com/2005/08/15/122-1831326.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  3. ^ "Mời Dự Buổi Nói Chuyện Của Linh Mục Nguyễn Văn Hùng" (in Vietnamese). Việt Báo. 2007-04-16. http://www.vietbao.com/?ppid=45&pid=5&nid=106134. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  4. ^ a b c d Brownlow, Ron (2006-10-01). "Where there's darkness". Taipei Times: p. 18. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2006/10/01/2003330029. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  5. ^ a b Lan, Yuen-chin (2004-2005). "照亮越南勞工的心靈燈塔-阮文雄神父 (A beacon of light for Vietnamese workers: Father Nguyen Van Hung)". Legal Aid Foundation News (Taiwan). http://www.laf.org.tw/tw/public/index_detial.php?H_ID=7. Retrieved 2008-01-21. [dead link]
  6. ^ Van, Giang (2005-12-03). "Vietnamese Trafficking Victims Suffer Abuses in Taiwan". Little Saigon Radio. http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=e71dd248a07f9623345db1a848943abb. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  7. ^ "外籍神父看台灣 阮文雄 (A foreign priest's view of Taiwan: Nguyen Van Hung)" (in Chinese). United Daily News. 2007-12-18. http://big5.huaxia.com/tw/sdbd/rw/2007/00732338.html. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 

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