RELIGIOUS REPRESSION CONTINUES IN VIETNAM
3/5/07 Vietnam (Montagnard Foundation) BACKGROUND: The indigenous Degar Peoples (known under the French colonial term Montagnard) have suffered decades of persecution by the Vietnamese communist government, namely; confiscation of their ancestral lands, Christian religious repression, torture, killings and imprisonment. To date over 350 Degar prisoners remain in Vietnamese prisons for standing up for their human rights, for spreading Christianity or for fleeing to Cambodia . These prisoners continue to suffer abuses and subjected to torture, including electric shock treatment, beatings as well as being withheld food and medical care. The authorities continue to persecute members of the Christian House Church movement who refuse to join the government recognized church. In many cases authorities have beaten prisoners causing deliberate internal organ damage and a number of prisoners have already died in custody or soon after their release from prison.
DEGAR HOUSE CHURCH CHRISTIANS ARRESTED FOR REFUSING TO JOIN THE GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZED CHURCH: On 17 February 2007 a mixed force of 100 Vietnamese government soldiers and police entered and sealed off the village of Buon Moak, commune of Cu Mta, district of Mdrak in Daklak province. The soldiers and police then arrested two of our Christian brothers Y-Ja Nie age 55 and Y-Tuc Buonya age 44 because they are Christians who refused to join the government recognized church. They both were taken to the prison facility in the district of Mdrak. On 23 February 2007, Y-Tuc Buonya was released but Y-Ja Nie was sent to the prison facility in Buonmathuot because he is the preacher of house church at his village of Buon Moak . Given the Vietnamese governments track record of using torture against such prisoners it is thus feared this preacher will be maltreated and their families are extremely distressed.
Further update reports on these prisoners will be provided as they are received.
THE MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION CALLS ON:
Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to urgently investigate the arrests of these two Degar people to ensure the authorities do not torture and maltreat them.
Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to pursue a permanent humanitarian presence in the Central Highlands by US, UN and international NGOs.
Ø Concerned Embassies and the international community to urgently demand Vietnam release all 350 Degar Prisoners identified in the Human Rights Watch report of 14 June 2006. See: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/14/vietna13542.htm
Ø The International Community, namely Japan, the European Union, the United States and international banking organizations, carefully review their financial aid commitments to Vietnam especially the proposed Triangle development project destined to develop the border regions between Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.