The indigenous Montagnards (Degar) peoples have suffered decades of persecution by the communist government of Vietnam , namely; confiscation of their ancestral lands, torture, killings, unjust imprisonment and religious repression. In fact in 2004 the US State Department declared Vietnam to be one of worst violators of religious freedom in the world. Hundreds of Montagnard Degar People are currently in Vietnam s prisons and since 2001 thousands more have been subject to arrest and torture.
Montagnard Foundation President Kok Ksor states:
Today in Vietnam over 200 Montagnard, Degar people, are unjustly rotting in Vietnamese prisons. Their alleged crimes are refusing to renounce Christianity, fleeing to Cambodia or participating in peaceful demonstrations. The condition in these prisons is brutal and almost all our people describe torture and harsh treatment. Recently we received information from inside Ba Sao prison that guards would chain our people to latrines to hide them when international inspectors visit the prison. Vietnam has also been declared one of the worst violators of religious freedom by the US State Department last year and the Communist government is releasing all sorts of propaganda in order to cheat its way into the World Trade Organization. In the recent White Paper (Chapter IV) they falsely called me a terrorist and an organization promoting secession. I fully reject these allegations and state we only seek human rights and land rights under an indigenous people framework, as we are members of the UN Working Group of Indigenous Populations.
I put this question directly to Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and Communist Party Chairman Nung Duc Manh: If you really want to convince the international community that Vietnam is complying with human rights then why dont you stop treating our people, the Degar Montagnards like your worst enemy? If you stop killing, torturing us, and preventing us from being Christian then we wouldnt protest against the government.