Ethic Minority Christians Repressed in Vietnam

( [email protected] ) Apr 27, 2004 11:41 AM EDT

On the 19th April, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam admitted that the nation troubled Central Highlands region had again seen unrest protestors following by protest of Christians in Dak Lak and Gia Lai on 10th April.

The peaceful demonstrations intended to draw attention to the public about the government abuses of religious freedom and the confiscation of the Montagnard ancestral lands. According to Associated Press, there were numerous ethic minority Christians were beaten and jailed by Vietnamese police in the cities of Buon Ma Thout Pleiku.

An ethic minority advocacy group based in South Carolina, the Montagnard Foundation said that six ethnic minority Christians were killed and more than 20 were missing in Buon Ma Thout alone. According to a New York based organization, the Montagnard Foundation and Human Rights Watch (HRW), several hundred ethic minority Christians had been abused and killed in the recent demonstrations.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Dung said from Hanoi that western advocacy groups were guilty of fabrication and exaggeration about the persecution of ethic minority Christians in the region. Dung said "The Vietnam News Agency that there were protects in the Central Highlands, but the ethnic minority people were responsible for the violence."

He added, "Some extremist elements in localities in Dak Lak and Gai Lai provinces with external incitement induced, deceived and forced the local people to carry out demonstrations." He claimed that extremists had used dangerous weapons to beat on-duty offices and destroyed property in some areas.

The latest troubles of ethnic minority Christians came after three years of intensifying persecution of the hands of the Vietnamese government, which consistently denies any knowledge of such events. In addition of Freedom House Center for Religious Freedom, it reported that the government had also stepped up persecution against Hmong Christians that live in the northern part of the country.