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(ANS) – According to remarks made by Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State for the United States , the Bush administration has serious concerns about the treatment of the Degar Montagnards in the highlands of Vietnam . Zoellick was addressing a Press Roundtable at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in Bangkok , Thailand on May 4 as cited on the internet at http://scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0505/S00123.htm.

During the roundtable, Zoellick said while in South East Asia he would travel to countries like Vietnam , “where there is certainly a lot of work still to do. But we’ll also talk about human rights and religious freedom, where we’ve been having a particular effort with the Vietnamese.” Zoellick was asked: “What are your human rights concerns in Vietnam ?” Deputy Secretary Zoellick responded: “Well, I mentioned religious freedom is a very important one. Obviously, we also have a concern particularly in the highlands area about the Montagnards and some of the issues dealing with officials, (a) sort of amnesty for people who had been imprisoned in the past. It’s the full issues of civil and political rights, as well as the one I think we are making the most progress on, religious freedom.”

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