33 Christians Serve as Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam
06/23/2021 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – According to a recently released report on human rights in Vietnam published by the California-based rights group Vietnam Human Rights Network (VHRN), Vietnam holds at least 288 prisoners of conscience in the country’s prisons and jails.
Seventy-nine of these prisoners were arrested since the beginning of this year. Thirty-three of these prisoners are Protestant Christians. Others imprisoned include political activists, independent journalists, and land rights petitioners.
According to VHRN, “Vietnam continues to violate fundamental human rights, from discrimination, arbitrary arrest and detention, and violation of trial fairness to restrict freedom of religion, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association, etc.”
According to the report published by VHRN, in 2020-2021, the Communist government of Vietnam increased its hounding and harassment of the Evangelical Church Of Christ of Vietnam (ECCV). Even though the ECCV is a worldwide religious organization, it has not yet been accepted by the Vietnamese communist government. Practicing Christians in Vietnam regularly face discrimination, harassment, and imprisonment.
On March 19, 2020, police in Gia Lai province arrested three unregistered Hà Mòn Christian group leaders, seizing allegedly anti-state and propaganda materials. According to the authorities, all three lived in the jungle and contacted other Hà Mòn followers (Christians) for eight years.
After being criticized in front of the local population, all three people were spared from criminal prosecution. In the 2020 annual activity report, Gia Lai Provincial Police said they had abolished the Ha Mon religion entirely and stopped the revival of De Gar Protestantism of the Central Highlands’ ethnic minority groups.
Throughout 2020, the Vietnamese government frequently resorted to the 2003 Land Law, which gives them the right to take away church properties to exert more control over Vietnamese Christians. This past year, the government seized the land and educational facilities of the Thi Nghe and My Loc parishes. The government also demolished Thien An school, which was the property of Tuy Hoa Protestant Church.
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