Persecution Against Christians Persists in Vietnam

( [email protected] ) Apr 14, 2004 09:19 AM EDT

VIETNAM -- Over Easter weekend, about 400 Christians were killed in Vietnam while they were leading peaceful demonstrations against the government’s refusal to allow them to follow Christianity freely, as it drew much attention from the Vietnamese government.

Up to 400,000 Vietnamese Christians from Degar, gathered in several Vietnamese cities across the nation Saturday, April 10 to join demonstration calling for right to worship but unfortunately, they were attacked by soldiers, police and other Vietnamese civilians; they were shot, stoned, and beaten with electric batons, killing and injuring hundreds of people -- the Barnabas Fund, which serves Christian communities in Islam countries, reported.

According to Montagnard Foundation, an organization that represents Christians among Degar people, the demonstration was intended to simply lift the embargo on international human rights monitoring in the Central Highlands area. Montagnard repoted that “without the direct intervention of law abiding states, the UN and the European Commission, the repression against the Montagnards will be bloody.” Also many people are anticipating refuge crisis, where thousands of Vietnamese Christians are seeking to flee to Cambodia.

This is not the first time where Christians in Vietnam have organized demonstrations. In Feb. and March of 2001, once again in the province of Daklak, similar protests were organized but were quelled by the government’s repressive measures, bringing in similar results. Many people were killed and sentenced to 3-10 years in prison. According to Human Rights Watch, there are still 100 people in jail since the 2001 demonstration.

Montagnard stated that “Our people cannot continue suffering this way as the Vietnamese government continues to arrest, electric shock torture, and kill our peaceful hill tribe people for being Christian or for trying to save our ancestral land from being confiscated.”