The Hòa Hảo Buddhist Church (HHBC) has estimatedly 7 million followers, most of them live in the Mekong Delta. After the communist take-over of South Vietnam in 1975, the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) began to expropriate and requisition properties owned by the HHBC, confiscate and destroy numerous religious teaching documents, humiliate followers and prohibit religious celebration of important feast days according to HHBC’s rites. Even though small campared with other main religions in Vietnam, the following voices of the faithful of the Hòa Hảo Buddhist Church (HHBC) are nonetheless voices of justice, reason and conscience:
1) On March 19, 2001, a believer, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu sacrificed herself by fire. On August 5, 2001, another believer Mr. Tran Van Ut with religious name Hoa Lac burned himself to death while a few others killed themselves by evisceration to protest against the repressive policy of the communist government towards the HHBC.
2) Early February 2006, practicing believer Ha Hai was arrested, imprisoned, and maltreated to death by the security police. At the same time, several followers of HHBC were arrested, imprisoned and maltreated or become victims of economic blockade. They lose their jobs and redidence permits or are denied access to medical service.
3) On February 17, 2006, security police in Vonh Long province arrested Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thanh, aged 28, a missionary of Central Committee of HHBC and took her to the police station, where she was beaten and tortured and coerced to make false declarations enabling the police to make false accusations aiming at sowing distrust and divisions among the HHBC.
4) On May 20, 2006, 20 members of the HHBC attended the commemoration in memory of Mr. Ha Hai, the deceased former Secretary General of the traditional HHBC .On their way home, the HHBC’s members were severely beaten by 30 agents of the security police disguised as civilians and hoodlums under the command of Colonel Tai. Several members of the HHBC were seriously injured and must be taken to hospital for emergency treatment.
5) On June 12, 2006, agents of the security police entered the residence of Mr. Nguyen Van Thanh, Chairman of HHBC, Hong Ngu District, Dong Thap Province, to terrorize him and prevent him from organizing the religious Great Ceremony of the 18th of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. Security agents in civilian clothes also threw stones into the residence of Mr. Nguyen Phuoc Hau, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the traditional HHBC in An Giang Province, where the celebration will take place. The rampage causes property’s damages such as broken windows, and bodily injuries to family members. The security agents also threaten to burn the house if the ceremony is held.
6) On June 12, 2006, about 20 security policemen disguised as civilians entered the residence of Mr. Truong Van Duc, Commissioner General of the Youth of the traditional HHBC in Cho Vam municipality (holy place of the traditional HHBC), the chosen location for the ceremony. They threatened and forced Mr. Duc to cancel the planned ceremony. Faced with the refusal of Mr. Duc and many faithful present at the scene, the security forces brutally beat people, destroyed the altar of worship, confiscated and tore the banners of the ceremony.
7) On June 25, 2006, a ceremony to introduce the new Board of the traditional HHBC of An Giang Province is held at the residence of Mr. Tran Nguyen Huon, its president. A delegation of 20 members sent by the high dignitary Le Quang Liem travel from Saigon to An Giang. They were stopped by the police, who proceeded to insult and assault them roughly. After the clash with the police, the delegation had to go back to Saigon.
8) On June 27, 2006, the police tried to assassinate the high dignitary Le Quang Liem, aged 87 years. An organized collision while he was riding his motorcycle in Saigon almost killed him. Fortunately, Mr. Liem fell off his motorcycle and was only slightly injured.
9) For two consecutive weeks in August 2006, authorities of An Giang Province, under the command of two officers of the Political Commissariat (TC2) from Saigon, lieutenants Lam and Tien, launched a major campaign in all districts of the province where they threaten, terrorize and brutalize members and dignitaries of the traditional HHBC. Their aim was to force the self-dismantling of the HHBC. Faced with tough resistance of HHBC’s dignitaries and faithful, the authorities resort to vile means such as administrative detention, wrong accusations, terming the resisting persons as extremely dangerous reactionary elements financed by the Vietnamese diaspora and CIA to undermine the national security and to overthrow the communist regime “of the people and working for the people”. They call on the local population and followers of the HHBC to keep away from and avoid providing aid to HHBC’s dignitaries and warn them of untoward consequences. The dignitary’s residences are under constant surveillance by the security police and become a sort of inaccessible prison. Some of the dignitaries affected are: Mr. Tran Nguyen Huon, President of the traditional HHBC of Province An Giang, Mr. Nguyen Phuoc Hau, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of An Giang HHBC, Mrs. Tran Thi Xinh of the HHBC Humanitarian Women's Association of An Giang, Truong Van Duc, Commissioner General for Youth Affairs of HHBC, Mr. Ha Van Duy Ho, Chairman of the Commission on Youth of HHBC and other dignitaries from neighboring provinces who are in the same situation and under constant police surveillance.
10) On October 3, 2006, the residence of Mr. Bui Van Luoc, President, and Mr. Le Van Soc, Vice President of HHBC of Vinh Long Province, were surrounded by hundreds of security police who prevent the residents to go out to buy food. The two families warn that they would burn themselves if the security police try to enter their homes. In the face of the brutal pressure, Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan , president of HHBC of Can Tho province issues a suicide letter announcing her determination to die by self-burning in protest.
11) On October 10, 2006, Mr. Nguyen Van Tho, President of HHBC of Dong Thap province and his wife, Mrs. Duong Thi Tron were arrested by security police. Hundreds of security police illegally entered and completely wrecked their residence. They brutally beat family members, some became unconscious. They also stole a hand bag containing 40 million Dong from the sale of rice.
12) On November 4, 2006, security forces arrested Mr. Le Van Soc in the street, and beat him until he became unconscious. They then entered his residence, rampaged and stole 4 taels of gold and approximately 30 million Dong.
13) On November 22, 2006, security forces arrested the dignitary Nguyen Van Thi, in charge of HHBC Youth in Vinh Long province. They beat him unconscious, took him away and nobody has heard from him since.
14) On November 22, 2006, several security policemen disguised as civilians entered into the residence of Mr. Bui Van Luoc, president of HHBC Vinh Long province, threatening and intimidating him.
15) During the month of December 2006, security police threatened and prevented Mrs. Le Thi Nhan, daughter of Mr. Soc, Mr. Nguyen Hong Hai, Ha Van Duy Ho, and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan from leaving their homes.
16) On December 13, 2006, security forces beat Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu Van (daughter of Mrs. Tron) unconscious, and kicked the daughter of Ms. Thu Van, aged 9, who fainted.
17) On May 3, 2007, four leaders of HHBC, Mrs. Duong Thi Tron and Mr. Nguyen Van Tho, Le Van Soc, Nguyen Van Thuy were sentenced 4 to 6 years of prison in Dong Thap. They were accused of having caused public disorder through their hunger strike with intention to commit self-burning.
18) On April 22, 2008, relatives of Mr. Vo Thanh Liem, a dignitary and HHBC monk, accused the Vietnamese communist authorities of having terrorized, brutalized and condemmed the latter to forced labor. Mr. Vo Thanh Liem, aged 68, is resident monk at Minh Quang Pagoda of HHBC in Cho Moi, An Giang Province. He was detained at K2-Z30A Prison at Xuan Loc, Dong Nai Province and has gone on a protest hunger strike.
19) At present, there are 15 HHBC officials and dignitaries at central and province level imprisoned by the Vietnamese Communists (with 5 to 6-year sentences). They are: Dignitary Nguyen Van Dien, Dignitary Vo Thanh Liem, Dignitary Nguyen Thi Van, Mr. Nguyen Van Tho, Mrs. Duong Thi Tron, Mr. Le Van Soc, Mr. Vo Van Buu, Ms. May Thu Dung, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ha, Mr. To Van Manh, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long, Mr. Le Van Tinh, Mr. Bui Tan Nha, Nguyen Van Thuy (aka Tam).
20) Six leading administrators of the HHBC are under house arrest with permanent police control in front of their homes to prevent them from moving freely: Mr. Tran Nguyen Huon, Mr. Nguyen Phuoc Hau, Mrs. Tran Thi Xinh, Mr. Truong Van Duc, Mr. Ha Van Duy Ho, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan.
5.8 Repression against the Buddhist Church Cao Dai (BCCD)
On September 20, 1978, the Patriotic Front of Tay Ninh Province issued a document condemning the dignitaries of the Buddhist Church of Cao Dai (BCCD).
The sentencing document of 1978 includes more than 5000 words, and analyzes the activities of the EBCD through four periods. These periods, as the document expounds: "The period of formation of the EBCD" from 1926 to 1938,” The period under the payroll of Japanese fascism " from 1939 to 1945, "The period under the payroll of American imperialism and puppet regime of South Vietnam "from 1956 to 1975, and finally "The period from April 30, 1975 until September 1978,”date of the publication of the conviction.
At the end of the analysis the sentencing document concluded that the BCCD, including the High Dignitary Pham Cong Tac, were under the payroll of foreign powers such as French, Japanese and American and that "BCCD is a political organization using the religious cover to attract the Vietnamese people and to serve the imperialists."
Based on the analysis that BCCD supported the imperialism in order to enjoy the favor and aid from the imperialists and from the puppet regime, the authorities of the province of Tay Ninh gave the orders to confiscate "assets, properties, businesses used for church fundraising”, with the explanation that, "these goods do not belong to anyone, and that they are the property left by imperialism following its withdrawal from Vietnam.” On this basis, the authorities declared the need "to expropriate the property and assets of these corrupt officials acquired in an unlawful manner with the support of the imperialists.” A year later, the authorities issued the Order 124/QD-UB to dismantle all BCCD’s administrative bodies of local to central level. Much of these BCCD properties were seized by the Vietnamese communist authorities.
Four years after the publication of the condemnation of BCCD, on May 3, 1982, a number of dignitaries of Hiep Thien Dai, a branch of the BCCD, published a document that was sent to state agencies and officials; Among the receivers, were the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, which is equivalent to the office of Prime Minister and the President of the Council of State, which is equivalent to the head of the state.
This document entitled "The Revision of the Condemnation of BCCD" dismissed the facts and convictions contained in the official document of 1978 which states that: "The BCCD crossed the deepest crisis in its history, following the conviction of the Patriotic Front of Tay Ninh on September 20,1978, and the condemnation of the senior dignitaries who founded the Church."
The document of Revision criticized the condemnation without due process, based only on a compilation of unproven facts, without any hard proof, of the BCCD’s founders who are dead long ago by the official document.
The authors of the revision paper wrote that they are not “in hurry to judge the consequence of the sentencing document, now that everything had settled down and the sentencing document belongs to history”. They observe that the consequences of the Condemnation of 1978, which were imposed on the BCCD are none other than: "The faithful who have not accepted this sentencing document were arrested and imprisoned. The BCCD were dismantled and the three components of the Church known as Cuu Trung Dai, Hiep Thien Dai ,Phuoc Thien to be replaced by a Committee of Directors of the Church . At the same time with the dissolution of the Church, "many properties within the boundaries of the Holy Place as the assets and property of the Church were confiscated by the authorities."
The Committee of Directors formed by the Patriotic Front to replace the BHCD, forced to dismantle in 1979, was initially composed of 12 members, amounted now to 36 members. In 1997, 19 years after the publication of the sentencing document against the BCCD and 18 years after its forced dissolution, the Committee of Directors established a new organization called "Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do Cao Dai Tây Ninh”, with a new charter and the blessing of the Vietnamese communist authorities.
In 2006, the Vietnamese communist authorities authorized the transfer of the remains of the High Dignitary Pham Cong Tac , BCCD’s founder ,the same one that the said authorities has described as a reactionary 30 years earlier, from Cambodia to Vietnam. The remains of the High Dignitary Pham Cong Tac were re buried at the holiest site of the BCCD at Tay Ninh.
On March 17, 2008 (on February 10 of the year Mau Ty of the lunar calendar), the faithful of the BCCD from the neighboring provinces gathered at the Tây Ninh shrine to pray and to submit demands to the authorities relate to the religious regulations and to the BCCD’s properties. The prayer ceremony was interrupted early by the authorities. A number of the faithful had been arrested and taken to the headquarters of security forces for further questioning. Later some loyalists were imprisoned and others released. Two following demands have been transmitted during the prayer ceremony of March 17, 2008 at Cuu Trung Thien of the BCCD:
1) first, allow the complete re-habilitation of the BCCD according to the rules and principles of evangelization of the Church
2) Second, the Committee of Directors shall vacate from the holy place and return it back to the dignitaries and followers of the traditional BCCD.
On July 22, 2008, 12 members of the BCCD refused the authority of the Committee of Directors and went to Hanoi to submit to the representative of the Government Religious Committee, an official agency in charge of religious matters the letter of complaints and demands.
Mr. Nguyen Dac Tuan, Deputy Commissioner in charge of affairs relate to the Cao Dai Church of the Religious Governmental Committee sought to sidestep the issue, saying in an interview with the RFA radio that the demands came from of the faithful and not from the officers of the church, so he “will simply acknowledge the demands as information and he has no intention to find a solution to the problem since these people do not have the capacity and the requirement to represent the Church.
Thus, these are among the innumerable violations of religious freedom by the authorities controlled by the Vietnamese Communist Party. Other massive and systematic violations of religious freedom will be brought to the attention of public opinion if the freedom of speech and a free press have been complied with in Vietnam.
6. Repression of ethnic minorities
6.1 International Law Article 27 of The UN Covenant on civil and political right states:
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of their group, their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.
6.2 Typical Cases of Violations
Case 1: Ethnic Group Chăm at Village Văn Lâm The Chăm people are an ethnic group who live mainly on agriculture, forestry and animals raising. They have their own territory constituting of land recognized since the 19th century under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri, which includes almost all cultivated plain areas extending to the South See and the forest area in the East and the Lâm Đồng Province in the West. These cultivated areas are regarded as store of forestry products and animals raising farm reserved for the Chăm people. Thanks to this special land status, the Chăm people have been able to develop themselves and live under stability in their environment.
After the takeover of South Vietnam in 1975, the communist regime confiscated lands of 73 Chăm households in Village Văn Lâm, a total of some 320 ha., to integrate into Collective Farm Quán Thẻ of district Phước Nam, Ninh Phước, once province Thuận Hải. In 1996, this collective farm was dissolved. Instead of returning the 320 ha. land to the Chăm, its legal owners, authorities of Ninh Thuận Province decided to grant ownership on some of the land to Vietnamese working at the Quán Thẻ collective farm and sell the remaining land to the private company Vịnh Hạ Long, without bothering to furnish any legitimate reasons, nor any compensation plan, in spite of reclamations and protests of the 73 Chăm households, long-time legitimate owners of the 320 ha of land.
Since 1996, the 73 Chăm families formally file a petition at court reclaiming their own lands, but the authorities of Province Ninh Thuận turns down the claims. In 2004, Chăm villagers of Văn Lâm went to Ha Noi to ask for intervention from the central government, but equally without success. In 2006, they decide to go to the streets and demonstrate; requesting local authorities to resolve their land claims, but no one pays attention to their plight.
On December 6, 2007, a group of women of Văn Lâm gathers together for a demonstration in front of the People’s Council of Ninh Thuan Province and requests the authorities to return to them their land. Instead of meeting the request of the citizens, authorities of Ninh Thuan Province mobilize secutity police and militia and use 2 armored cars and force to take the Chăm women of Văn Lâm to Tuy Phong, Province Bình Thuận, and Cam Ranh, Province Khánh Hòa, some 50 kms. from the city of Phan Rang.
On July 23, 2008, on the occasion of a visit of the Communist Prime Minister and his delegation which also includes high officials of Ninh Thuân Province to inspect the project to build an atomic reactor in the Phước Dinh Zone, district Ninh Phước, Province Ninh Thuận, 73 Chăm households of Village Văn Lâm, most are women, hold a demonstration, peacefully and non-violently stopping cars of the delegation with two tiny hand-written banners which read “May the P.M. help the citizens” and “Compensation for the land of 73 households”. Security police and the militia use violence to dissolve the women, turning a nonviolent demonstration into a violent clash between authorities and peaceful demontrators.
The Chăm are simple and honest people who have lived in this area from time immemorial and are attached to their land, spiritually like a sacred belief. Thus, land appropriation in this case represents a serious violation to the spiritual life of this people.
Case 2: 300 families of ethnic Chăm (Champa), Ninh Thuan Province The following claim of 300 families of ethnic Chăm in the Ninh Thuan province was sent to the Vietnamese authorities, to the representatives of the Vietnamese Communist Party, to the responsible for the administration of the ethnic Chăm (Champa) in the Ninh Thuan Province, to the various United Nations agencies, to the Commission on Human Rights, to the government, to the media in Vietnam, to various organisations acting for the defence of justice and to local and international courts. :
We , undersigned, Thành Ngôn (alias Chê Viên Phuong), a graduate from university , salesman for traditional medicine without fixed home, representative of the ethnic Cham in the province of Ninh Thuan and Thành Vi (Chê Thiên Tâm), college graduated, acupuncturist , homeless, and Luong Thong, salesman for the substance against beetles, homeless and Sàm Van Bien, worker. We are 300 families Chăm (which is only part of all victims) who have been dispossessed of our land, have lost our property, our homes, deprived of our rights, and had to flee and hide in the hamlets of Ro Bo, zone 1, zone 2 of the Khanh Hai commune, Binh Nghia , Ty Tong, Ro Bo, Phuong Phai hamlets.
We lost our ethnic identity, even if the historical remains still exist, through generations, through different regimes, we lived in the shadows. Through history we have always been eligible for the tax exonerations and for many other benefits for our children. We could also benefit of many advantages for our participation in military, social or political life. Previously, we have had homes, land, real estate, which has been legally owned through generations and through various political epochs. But since 1975 until now, our population suffers particularly ill-treatment in a systematic way from the Vietnamese communist authorities. Our dignity and our human rights have been violated. We lost all our possessions and our land; we are no longer allowed to practice our beliefs. So you can imagine the situation of our race who is a victim of a ferocious political repression, systematic violation of human rights, expropriation of property, and discrimination from the Vietnamese authorities. 100 Chăm our families, we are ready to accept all risks to defend human rights, the rights to live as human beings in democratic countries, in the land of our ancestors, defend our rights to religious freedom defend our rights to the pursuit of happiness, all those rights that nobody can deny a minority ethnic group like ours, by pursuing a policy of discrimination. We ask: 1) For the Vietnamese communist authorities to return the land, property and all that you have taken or expropriated.
2) The immediate cessation of violations of human dignity, political repression, terror
3) The cessation of slanderous accusations against our own ethnic group, according to what we accuse cooperation with hostile powers who foment peaceful change from the outside in order to sow division and threaten the stability and state security.
4) The immediate cessation of political expropriation disguised to fool the Vietnamese and international opinion
5) For the United Nations and governments to help us to leave Vietnam and to grant us asylum in a democratic country respectful of human rights. Where the repression will continue to our ethnicity, we will choose the collective suicide.
Ninh Thuan, December 1, 2005
Representing 300 families , victims of human rights violations and of land illegal expropriation for the benefit of senior Vietnam Communist Party members.
Signed: Chê Phuc Hung and Chê Viên Phuong (Thanh Ngon) Case 3: A man originally Chăm was tortured in prison to death in Vietnam Ba Van Ban, 25, a young man of Chăm origin of Van Lam Hamlet, Phuoc Nam commune, Ninh Phuoc district, Ninh Thuan Province, has been expropriated of his land close to the village of Hau Sanh, Huu Phuoc commune, by a woman named Thi Buoi to grow fruit trees. Mr. Bá Van Ban was determined to reclaim his land. Despite numerous promises, Mrs. Thi buoc never made any gesture to return the land to Mr. Ban. Given this situation, Mr. Ban visited his land to cut some branches of fruit trees to express his discontent. The family of Mrs. Buoi made a claim with the security forces of Ninh Phuoc District, asking for repairs against Mr. Ban.
On June 2, 2008, the security forces came to arrest Mr. Ban to take him to jail in Ninh Phuoc district. During two months of detention, Mr. Ban was tortured so that he nearly died. Given this situation, the security forces have allowed Mr. Bá Van Ban’s family to get him to the Ninh Thuan hospital. One day later, Mr. Ba Van Ban died at 22h on August 27, 2008 following his serious injury.
Faced with these barbaric acts, the Chăm villagers of Van Lang Hamlet have organised a manifestation asking for the observance of human rights by the Vietnamese authorities and asking for explanations about the death of Mr. Ba Van Ban, who was tortured.
Case 4: the expropriation of Ede tribe’s property. The missionary Y Soai, from Ede tribe reported that:
"We are an ethnic minority living on the Central Highlands. The central highlands are a fertile land, rich in natural resources with a high level of development in agriculture, livestock and have contributed over 30% to the national gross product, mainly by the production of coffee, rubber, fruit and rice. The Vietnamese communist authorities became aware of the wealth of our lands. Therefore, they sought to drive us out of our land and exterminate us at all costs, by several stratagems. They seized our land to set up farms, industrial parks, and then they distributed them to the families of the Communist Party cadres. We were forced to leave our land and forced to find refuge in the remote and arid areas. As a concrete example, the authorities have confiscated our land in the village Buon Tara Puor to build the Thang Loi and Cu Pul farms with an area of over 1000 hectares, near the town of Hoa Dong, Krong Pac district, Dak Lak province. The peaceful villagers of Buôn Tara Puor have received nothing in return as compensation for the confiscation of their land to build the state farms.
Case 5: Repression against the Ede The repression of the authorities against the Montagnard (Highlanders) ethnic minorities led to the uprisings in the Central Highlands in 2001 and 2004, and recently, in mid April 2008. Following these mass demonstrations, hundreds of Montagnards were arrested as reported by the missionary Soai Y: "We have received poisonous gifts from the Vietnamese authorities: the death of hundreds of people due to repression and torture. After being released, 15 days, 1 month or 2 months after their release from prison, many people are dead from their injuries due to torture. More than 300 people were still held in detention in prisons in the North since 2001 until now; some were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 to 18 years. The reasons for these sentences are the struggle for religious freedom, for democracy and for restitution of land requisitioned by the authorities. Up to now the Vietnamese communist authorities continue their policy of repression, arrests and bad treatment. On the occasion of every important event in Vietnam or during religious festivals, we are routinely invited to the offices of the security forces for interrogation or forcibly taken for interrogation and torture and even to be kept in custody. Therefore, we had to flee our homeland, leaving our loved ones to seek protection and justice from the international communities.
A concrete example is the recent case of Ben Hdơk Y, born in 1979 in Buon Bre, commune of Phu Hoa city of Ban Me Thuot, Dak Lak province. A resident of Buôn Đung, Cư ebur commune , Ban Me Thuot city, Dak Lak Province, he was kidnapped by the security forces on April 26, 2008; he was brutally interrogated and tortured. After finding that his health was deteriorating so dangerous, the security forces took him to the provincial Dak Lak hospital and then let him die there on May 1, 2008.
Following his death, security forces have permitted his family to retrieve the body by imposing a ban on filming his body and maintaining strict control over the funeral ceremony from the hospital to the burial site.
Case 6: dismantling of the Ede Church of Tara Puor Most mountaineers are followers of the Protestant Church. But the Vietnamese communist authorities have banned the practice of the church on the Central Highlands. The authorities have sought to suppress and dismantle the Protestant church from 1975 until now. The church in the center of Ban Me Thuoc was destroyed by the authorities, pastors and missionaries have been arrested and imprisoned.
The most recent case is the protestant church of the village Buon Tara puor; the missionary Y Soai (responsible for Youth of the Church) was arrested by security forces and detained since September 19, 2002 until March, 2003. During the period of detention of the missionary Soai Y, the Buôn Tara puor church was dismantled, the Holy Bible and the church property, confiscated. According to the missionary Soai Y this method of repression is not only applied to the Buôn Tara puor church, but also to all the churches throughout the region."
Case 7: the repression during Central Highlands ethnic minority’s manifestation On April 14 ,2008, more than 8,000 people from Jarai minority ethnic , Lgia To common, Chu Se district, Gia Lai, most of them from Ia uor, Cu Drang, Ia Zion, R'Sai, buon K 'Nut, K'rông Pak commune with some 7,000 people and over 1000 people from the Ede minority of Ede commune of Duc Co , Cu Se, Ia Grai, Dak Doa, Gia Le, Ayumpa, Phu Thiên, Gia Rai province, of Ede commune of Hleo, K'Rông Pawk, A K'Rông Nang, Lake, K'Rông Noh, Dak Lak province, and Ede commune of Plei Rac, Sa Thay, Honrobang, province of Kontum, also of Buon-Tieu, Buon E-Nao, Chu M'Ngal, E'l Leo, Dak Lak province , gathered to demonstrate peacefully asking for the release of 350 persons of minority ethnics origin, imprisoned in 2001 and 2004 and for the return of houses, rice fields, land that has been confiscated by the Vietnamese authorities and for religious freedoms. These 350 people are now languish in prison with Mr. Siu Lul, a senior official of the ethnic minority Catholic Church, who died in communist prisons, after many months of suffering, deprivation, and torture. Mr. Siu Lul, age 62, residing in Chu Se district, Gia Lai province, on the central highlands, was transferred to prison in northern Ha Nam since 2004.
The Vietnamese authorities have sent 1500 troops of the Popular Army, police 113, mobile police, also gunmen disguised as gang’s men, led by the Secret Service TC2, and the local security forces led by Commander Nông van Luu to severely repress the demonstrators. They used batons and electric whips furnished by France to brutally repress women and children; several people were injured and a number of others died.
Several people from ethnic minorities had to flee to the mountains or in Cambodia.
Case 8: The H'Mong minority ethnic A- In recent years, several tens of thousands of Hmong ethnic minority, followers of the Protestant Church, people of the provinces of Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang have fled to the southern provinces or to mountainous areas because of arrests for religious practices. A number have been arrested or detained in forced labour camps. Many family gatherings were cancelled by the force and churches closed.
According to witnesses, the officers beat Mr. Giang Thanh Phia in Lai Chau, until death, for his strong commitment to his beliefs. The son of Mr. Giang Thanh Phia, aged 10, was also tortured to death for refusing to indicate the hiding place of his father.
In November 2003, security forces arrested the leader of the H'Mong minority ethnic, Ma Van Bay in Binh Phuoc and took him to Ha Giang. Mr. Ma Van Bay, born in Ha Tay, who translated the Bible into Hmong, fled to South Vietnam to avoid being arrested by the communist Vietnamese security forces.
B- On April 14, 2006 were soldiers of the border area 405, the police, the local People's Committees and the militia in the village Trung Chai, District Muong-Nhe, province Dien Bien, and destroyed the homes of 16 Hmong Christian families with a total of 150 persons. They seized cash, clothing, seeds and tools. Two people were arrested, beaten and seriously injured. Four days later, the attackers destroyed again the temporary tents and brutally beat protesters on victims. Chang A Hu was beaten to unconscious after his arms with handcuffs on his back had been shackled. Police let him lie because they thought he dead. The Christians were a few months earlier because of the looming famine in the neighboring province of Lai Chau has come. At that time they already had the authorities remain on the grounds that Christians had no place.
C- On March 21, 2006, a house and eight residential lodges of Hmong Protestant Christians in the village Ta Tong, Muong Te district, Lai Chau province were burnt by representatives of the Border Army, the police, the local Fatherland Front and the militia. Good tools and household appliances were taken. Four fields were rendered unusable. Before the arson attack there was no notice or warning from the authorities. 40 people are homeless and penniless. As the attack earlier, he also aimed at the destruction of the living existence of the Christians.
D- On 17 April, 2006, the Christians in the Ban Lien village, Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province were cited by a People's Committee. In the four-hour meeting the Protestant faith was declared illegal. The Christians had to declare themselves no longer to assemble and is still in the family to meet. Four Christians - Thao Seo Phe, Nenh Giang Seo, Sung Seo Di and Lau Seo Pao - who refused to their faith, were the next day to the People's Committee cited, beaten, tortured and injured. Thao Seo Phe had a total of five hours in a painful position probation. A disciple of the eighth class was forced to spend hours on one leg to stand. The victims were beaten bloody, when they could no longer endure.
Case 9: the situation Kpa Kloh Kpa Kloh, born on June 12, 1966, resident in the village of Ploi, Hbong commune, district of Cu Se, Gia Lai province, was arrested by security forces on October 12, 2004. He was transferred to the provincial prison of Phu Yen. Kpa Kloh has frequently suffered torture. The security forces used batons to beat him and kicked him with boots.
On July 8, 2007, the security forces used batons to beat Kpa Kloh to the head causing his fainting and ear, nose and mouth bleeding. On December 10, 2007 and February 9, 2008, the security forces continued to torture Kpa Kloh who died on February 10, 2008 after enduring repeated torture by the security forces of the Phu Yen provincial prison, leaving his wife R'mah H'ne and his six young children.
Case 10: Jarai ethnic minority A) On July 30, 2008, the Vietnamese communist security forces of Dak Doa district, Gia Lai province have arrested 4 members of the Church of the Degar minority ethnic :
1-Noh, born in 1957, residing in the Bel Act Dor 1 village, Golar commune, Dak Doa, Gia Lai province
2-Yu, born in 1937, residing in the Ploie Brel Dor 2 village, Common Golar, Dak Doa, Gia Lai province
3-Yuh, born in 1962, resident of the Brel Dor 2 village, Common Golar, Dak Doa, Gia Lai province
4-Amlinh, born in 1938, residing in the Ploie Tuoh KTU village, common Golar, Dak Doa, Gia Lai province
Yu, Yuh and Amlinh were released on August 17, 2008. During Noh ‘stay in prison he was submitted to an interrogation on August 20, 2008 by the security forces to know the reasons for a meeting at the Amlinh home. Noh said to the security forces that members of the Church and himself prayed for Mr. Kok Ksor‘s success to convince the European Parliament to provide support for their struggle during the next meeting with the European Parliament’s member. The security forces could not justify the reasons for the arrest of Mr. Noh.
B) On August 3, 2008, the communist Vietnamese security forces examined 4 members of the Degar Protestant Church residing in the Ploie Bang village, Ia Chia commune, Ia Grai district, Gia Lai province on the activities of the Church. These 4 people are:
1) Puih Kui, born in 1989
2) Rmah H'Di, born in 1964
3) Rmah H'En, born 1963
4) Puih Henh, born 1968
C) On August 30, 2008, around 30 members of the security forces surrounded the village of Cuor Knia, Buon Don district, Dak Lak province and arrested the following 3 minority ethnic ‘ members :
1) Y-Ruk Buon Ya, 19 years
2) Y-Yong Hwing
3) Y-Than Buon Ya, 20 years
With the reason to have "in possession of mobile phone”
List of prisoners furnished by the Protestant Church Association of ethnic minorities in Vietnam