(May 11, 2006) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org, has just become informed that on April 24 of this year, another Vietnamese Christian, Siu Lul (a Montagnard), succumbed to the effects of food and water deprivation and torture in a Vietnamese prison.
Siu Lul was 62 years old and from the village of Ploi Kueng , Habong commune, Cu Se District, Gia Lai Province . He had been held at the Ha Nam Prison facility since 2004, where he experienced deprivation of food and water, beatings, and torture by the prison authorities. Prison authorities wanted the family to take his body back to his village, but his family did not have money to pay for transportation, so he was buried in Ha Nam .
There are still over 350 Montagnard prisoners of conscience* who remain imprisoned in Vietnam s brutal prison system. Vietnam has brutally suppressed the Montagnard Christians for decades and Siu Lul was not the first Christian to die a slow death at the hands of the Vietnamese authorities.
Vietnam s treatment of its Christians is the reason they remain on the State Departments CPC (Country of Particular Concern) list and were re-elected to that list by the State Department just this month.
Vietnam is currently seeking entry into the WTO (World Trade Organization). As a result of Vietnam s continued massive human rights abuses towards Christians, and their refusal to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Committee which has tried to get access to prisoners of conscience, ICC is calling for a boycott of Vietnam from the WTO.
At the heart of this argument is the carrot or the stick dilemma. Many people say that Vietnam will change through more acceptance into the world body and through greater economic integration. Senators John McCain and John Kerry are key proponents of this approach and have blocked efforts in the US Senate to hold Vietnam accountable for its actions in the past.
While we dont necessarily disagree with this approach in the long term, it has meant oppression, torture, and death for Vietnamese Christians in the short term. Siu Lul was one such casualty of this approach.
ICC would argue that both the carrot and the stick are needed in dealing with nations like Vietnam . Now is the time for the stick.
ICC wishes to thank The Montagnard Foundation for its continued support of the oppressed Montagnards of Vietnam and for the information of Siu Luls death.
*ICC will supply the list of prisoners to any interested parties.