APPEAL OF THE MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION AND FROM THE DEGAR MONTAGNARD PEOPLE IN VIETNAM S CENTRAL HIGHLANDS TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY:
OVER 200 PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY RELEASED
The Montagnard Foundation and the indigenous Degar Montagnard People makes this appeal to the international community in order to peacefully resolve the human rights situation facing the Montagnard in Vietnam s Central Highlands. The Montagnard Foundation calls on the United States , the European Commission, the United Nations and Vietnam s donor nations to pressure Vietnam to:
1. OPEN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS TO INTERNATIONAL MONITORS
Since Vietnam and the United States are currently engaged in trade agreements and discussing strategic partnerships for defense, there is now no reason for the Vietnamese government to view the Degar Montagnard people as an enemy because of Montagnard support to the US Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.
2. WITHDRAW ITS TROOPS FROM THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
Since Cambodia and Laos are allies of Vietnam and all the Degar Montagnard refugees in Cambodia have been forcibly repatriated, there is no longer any reason for the Vietnamese military to continue to occupy the Central Highlands. Currently the Vietnamese government views the ethnic Degar Montagnard people as their worse enemy. We request that the soldiers and Cong An security forces desist in security operations and withdraw their soldiers from the Central Highlands . The Degar Montagnard people only desire to be treated as equal citizens in Vietnam .
3. RELEASE ALL DEGAR MONTAGNARD PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
Since the Vietnamese government claims it does not harm the Degar Montagnard refugees who have been forcibly repatriated to Vietnam from Cambodia , there is no longer any reason for Vietnam to keep other Degar Montagnard people in prison. We request the government of Vietnam release all Degar Montagnard prisoners who have been arrested and imprisoned since the Montagnard peaceful demonstration of 2001. All of the indigenous Degar Montagnard prisoners who are listed below have been tortured and imprisoned not because they are terrorists or wanted to overthrow the government of Vietnam or wanted an independent state but simply because they dared to stand up and ask for the respect of their basic human rights, indigenous land rights and religious freedom. We humbly ask all of Vietnam s donors to not empower Vietnam with aid money unless the persecution against the Montagnards ceases.