MONTAGNARD ASYLUM SEEKERS RETURNED TO VIETNAM BY THE UNHCR ARE BEATEN AND IMPRISONED:




22 November 2005 Spartanburg SC USA

BACKGROUND: The indigenous Montagnards (Degar) Peoples have suffered decades of persecution by the government of Vietnam, namely; confiscation of their ancestral lands, religious repression, torture, killings and imprisonment. In Cambodia Montagnard asylum seekers are often forcibly returned to Vietnam were they face retaliation by Vietnamese authorities. One example occurred on 20 July 2005 when 100 Montagnards in Phnom Penh were forcibly returned to Vietnam under apparent co-operation with the UNHCR. White House Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli stated on 20 July 2005, "We have raised U.S. objections to this involuntary repatriation with both the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam. We are disappointed that these individuals were repatriated before an internationally-staffed monitoring program was in place in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and before other solutions could be considered for these individuals."

The Montagnard Foundation has received information below that the following Montagnards forcibly returned to Vietnam have been imprisoned and tortured. This list includes some of the Montagnards forcibly returned by the UNHCR on July 20, 2005.

1. A-Brih, (pictured right in blue striped shirt) age unknown, from the village of Grak, commune Ia Sier, district Xa Thai, Kon Tum province. He had fled to Cambodia in 2002 and was later arrested by Cambodian police at Kia village in Cambodia. He was then handed over to Vietnamese Police and returned to his village in Vietnam. One of the UNHCR officials (pictured right) went to visit him. After the UNHCR left the village, Vietnamese police increased surveillance of A-Brih and forbade him from leaving his village. Subsequently on December 29, 2004 Vietnamese police arrested him and he remains to this day imprisoned at Thanh Hoa Province prison facility.


2. Ksor Chuen, 25 years of age from Bong Bao village, Commune of Cu A, Plei Ku City, Gia Lai Province. On July 20, 2005, the UNHCR forcefully returned him to Vietnam from Cambodia. Vietnamese police then summoned Ksor Chuen to appear at the Commune of Cu A. They threatened Ksor Chuen from ever following the Montagnard Foundation and work of Ksor Kok again as well as being involved in the Christian house church movement. The police threatened him and forced him to state he will follow the official government religion called “Than Tuy”. The police summoned Ksor Chuen repeatedly to report to the commune so that he was unable to ever find work and support his family. Ksor Chuen could not bear this harassment for ever and fled to the jungle a second time. However, on September 22, 2005, the police captured Ksor Chuen and another Montagnard named: 3. Wao (from Bong Bao village, commune Cu A, Plei Ku City, Gia Lai Province) and imprisoned them where they currently remain.

4. R'Mah Plun, 30 years old from Pah village, commune Ia Ko, District Cu Se, Gia Lai Province. On May 18, 2005 the UNHCR repatriated him back to Vietnam from Cambodia. At 7 am on September 3, 2005 Rmah Plun needed to buy some bicycle tire repair glue and tried to leave his village. He rode his bicycle about 100 meters out of his village but was stopped by two plain clothes police riding Honda motorcycles. They stopped Rmah Plun in the middle of the road and asked him where he was going. Rmah Plun told them that he wanted to buy some glue to repair his bicycle’s tire. The police officers stated however that they needed to take him to the office of the communal committee. The officers made him to leave his bicycle at Per village and took Rmah Plun away on the back of their motorcycle. The police did not take him to the communal office but instead drove him to Gui Bia Mountain area. At this mountain the police brutally beat him and tortured him until he became unconscious. He laid there beaten to a pulp and after a while, he awoke covered in blood and bruises. He was forced to limp back many miles to get back to his village.

5. A - Mich, date of birth unknown, from the village Ploi Chot, commune Ia Sier, district of Xa Thai, Kon Tum province. On July 20, 2005, UNHCR forcibly repatriated a group of Montagnard refugees back to Vietnam from Cambodia and A Mich was one of them. On November 12, 2005, two bus loads of Vietnamese army soldiers stormed into his village commune of Ia Sier, Xa Thai District. A-Mich was arrested and imprisoned at the prison facility at district Xa Thai, Gia Lai province. At the present time his family is extremely distressed about his well being because it is common knowledge amongst Montagnards that Vietnamese security forces torture and brutalize Montagnards in prison.

6. A-Suuh, date of birth unknown, from the village of Grak, commune Ia Sier, district Xa Thai, Kon Tum province. A-Suuh was one of the 100 Montagnard refugees forcibly repatriated by the UNHCR to Vietnam from Cambodia on 20 July 2005. On November 12, 2005 the Vietnamese government arrested and imprisoned him at the prison facility in the district of Xa Thai, Gia Lai province. At the present time his family is extremely distressed about his well being because it is common knowledge amongst Montagnards that Vietnamese security forces torture and brutalize Montagnards in prison.

7. R'Com Pyaih, age 27, from the village of Grak, commune Ia Sier, district Xa Thai, Kon Tum province. The UNHCR repatriated him back to Vietnam on February 19, 2005 from Cambodia. On November 11. 2005 the Vietnamese police arrested and imprisoned him at the prison facility in the province of Thanh Hoa. At the present time his family is extremely distressed about his well being because it is common knowledge amongst Montagnards that Vietnamese security forces torture and brutalize Montagnards in prison.


8. Siu A-iah, age unknown (photo right) from the village of Ploi Grak, commune Ia Sier, district Xa Thai, Kontum Province. He was repatriated to Vietnam from Cambodia by the UNHCR on February 19, 2002. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Vietnamese police on December 29, 2004. At the present time he remains imprisoned at the prison facility in Thanh Hoa Province. At the present time his family is extremely distressed about his well being because it is common knowledge amongst Montagnards that Vietnamese security forces torture and brutalize Montagnards in prison.

9. A-Ya, age unknown, from the village of Ploi Grak, commune Ia Sier, district Xa Thai, Kongtum province. He was repatriated to Vietnam from Cambodia by the UNHCR on February 19, 2002. He was arrested and imprisoned sometime in 2004 and at the present time he remains imprisoned at the prison facility in Thanh Hoa Province and his family are extremely distressed about his wellbeing.

10. Rahlan Hyun, age 23, from the village of Ploi Per, commune Ia Ko, district Cu Se, Gia Lai province. He was one of the Montagnards who had been forcibly repatriated from Cambodia on July 20, 2005. On November 8, 2005, the Vietnamese police entered his house at night while he and his wife were sleeping. The police stuffed cloth in his wife’s mouth, slapped her face and beat her with a rifle stock. The police then took Rahlan Hyun away to the coffee plantation called Café Viet Duc. There the police commenced beating, kicking and torturing him for hours until the early morning came. The police threatened him and then let him walk home. Rahlan Hyun could hardly walk however, because of the brutal beating he had received from the police.


The Montagnard Foundation respectfully calls on:

- The UNHCR immediately cease all repatriations of Montagnard asylum seekers who have fled Vietnam’s Central Highlands and who remain in Cambodia.

- The US government, European Union and the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (and UNHCR) to urgently push for Vietnam to open the Central Highlands to international monitoring so they can protect Montagnards from human rights abuses in Vietnam's Central Highlands.

- The US government, European Union and the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and UNHCR urgently Pressure Vietnam to release these and all other Montagnard Prisoners held in Vietnam.




MONTAGNARD FOUNDATION, INC.
Dedicated to the preservation of the Indigenous People of Vietnam’s Central Highlands
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