Montagnards face secret trials or death in Vietnam: repatriation of montagnard refugees must cease


Montagnard Foundation

Background: The indigenous Montagnards (Degar) Peoples have suffered decades of persecution by the communist government of Vietnam, namely; confiscation of their ancestral lands, religious repression, torture, killings and unjust imprisonment. Human Rights Watch has recorded the names of 188 Montagnards who had received harsh prison sentences of up to thirteen years since 2001 for their Christian religious activities, participation in peaceful protests, or for attempting to flee to Cambodia. Cambodian authorities continue to arrest and deport Montagnards who flee the troubled central highlands and those returned to Vietnam suffer continued persecution.

Montagnard Christian dies after release from prison:

1 - Y-Kuot Enuol, DOB unknown, from Buon Dha Prong village, Buonmathuot, Daklak province was arrested on 30 April 2004 and accused of participating in the Easter Vigil Prayer of 10-11 April 2004. He was imprisoned at the old radio station in Buonmathuot City and subjected to prolonged electric shock torture and beatings. He suffered severe medical problems including three broken ribs and was denied medical treatment. On 10 November 2004 he was released from prison to return to his family, however on 25 November 2004 some two weeks later he mysteriously died in his village.

2 - Y-Jan Enuol was born in 1957, from the village of Buon Dha Prong, Buonmathuot, Daklak province. He was arrested and imprisoned at the old radio station prison’s facility in Buonmathuot on April 14, 2004. On October 4, 2004 he was released from prison to return to his family, however on November 5, 2004 one month later he mysteriously died in his village. His family believed that the Vietnamese officials had poisoned his food before he was released.

MFI has received information from numerous sources inside the Central Highlands that many Montagnard Degar people who have been released from prison died soon after, some in a few weeks or months. Many mysteriously became paralyzed or went insane because they had been injected with some type of chemical by Vietnamese authorities whilst in captivity. Others have died due to their injuries from being severely tortured. It is still commonly reported amongst our people that thousands of our people have been murdered in this way since 1975 and at the moment we are seeking to document these reports for victim’s families and post it on the Montagnard Foundation website.

Secret Trials on 31 January 2005 - 15 Montagnard Degar people imprisoned: On 31 January 2005 at the provincial court of Daklak, the Vietnamese authorities tried and sentenced 15 Montagnard Degar people to long prison terms. At this point we only know five of the names: Among their crimes were; owning a cell phone, participating in the Easter Prayer vigil, refusing to join the Government approved Protestant Church (ECVN) or for hiding in the forest.
Y-Nguin Knul
, DOB 1968, from Buon Ecam village, district Krong Ana, Daklak province. He was sentenced from 5 to 10 years imprisonment.

Y-Dham Eban, DOB unknown, from Buon Ju village, Buonmathuot, DakLak province. He was sentenced from 5 to 10 years imprisonment.

Y-Tul Enuol, DOB 1966, from Buon Ecam village, district Krong Ana, Daklak province. He was sentenced from 5 to 8 years imprisonment.

Y-Suan Buon Ya, DOB 1968, from Buon Ecam village, district Krong Ana, Daklak province. He was sentenced from 5 to 8 years imprisonment.

Y-Rit Nie, DOB 1972, from Buon Poc village, district Cu Mgar, Daklak province. He was sentenced from 5 to 8 years imprisonment.


THE MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION CALLS ON THE UNITED STATES, EUROPEAN UNION, AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT, UNHCR AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES TO:

Take necessary action to protect the Montagnard Refugees in Cambodia and ensure Montagnard asylum seekers are not forcibly deported against their will and that Vietnam and Cambodia abide by the UN Refugee Convention.

Take necessary action to ensure that Montagnard asylum seekers screened out from being accepted as refugees are not forced back to Vietnamese authorities.

Strongly urge Vietnam to immediately release Montagnard Prisoners who have been imprisoned for practicing Christianity, for participation in peaceful protests, or for attempting to flee to Cambodia.

Strongly urge Vietnam to abide by the 2002 Concluding Observations of the UN Human Rights Committee regarding the “serious violations” facing the Montagnard peoples (UN doc: CCPR/C/SR.2031) and that Vietnam allow human rights monitors access to the central highlands.