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Update Advocacy Vietnam

Source:                www.jubileecampaign.org

Date:                      December 15, 2019

 

Thanks to joint advocacy efforts with Boat People SOS there has been some recent progress in Vietnam albeit small.
At the UN Human Rights Council this year we highlighted the plight of the Hmong and Montagnard Christians and how following their conversions they have been rendered stateless, losing ability to apply for a marriage certificate, gain access to schooling for their children, etc. 
Recently however, representatives from two communities were able to meet with their local government officials and bring these issues to their attention. Small concessions were made and now younger children have been allowed to attend school though without official recognition.
The local government officials also promised to look into farmland allocation and providing social service. They have yet to fulfil their two final promises but allowing the schooling is one step in the right direction. 
 
Rippling affect?
 
In at least one other Hmong Christian Community in the Central Highlands and one in the Northwestern Highlands local authorities responded favourably to a petition submitted by community. This response is unique, where in the past the local governments have responded with retaliation not dialogue. This has emboldened additional Hmong to communities to petition for their rights according to BPSOS. 
 
The sustainable future and security of the rights of Hmong and Montagnard remains dire as the central government still has not budged. To effectively end the stateless situation of the Hmong permanently there needs to be direct intervention and policy changes at the central government level, to recognise Hmong and Montagnard’s as equal citizens and grant them the full enjoyment of their rights. 
 
Jubilee Campaign and its partners remain committed in following through on the advocacy for the full relief for the Hmong and Montagnard Christians. 
"This response is unique, where in the past the local governments have responded with retaliation not dialogue. This has emboldened additional Hmong communities to petition for their rights "
 
Vietnamese authorities try to silence Human Rights defenders
 
 
In addition to interrogations, Vietnamese authorities use social media to target those who speak out regarding the persecution and human rights violations in Vietnam.
(Images courtesy of BPSOS)
 
There have been numerous confirmed reports of crackdowns on Vietnamese human rights defenders and witnesses who have testified at international conferences. Among them, those who shared at the July Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in DC.
BPSOS reported how in July 29, 2019, the Ministry of Public Security ran an article criticising the White House and State Department for inviting Pastor A Ga and Mr. Duong Xuan Luong, a Cao Dai follower, to a meeting with President Trump.
The article branded the Pastor and Cao Dai-follower as criminals and issued an arrest warrant. In addition they targeted leaders in their respective religious communities and interrogated them thus putting pressure on those who leave the country to be wary of speaking out. 
Recently members who attended The Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference (SEAFORB) faced interrogations upon return and one lost his job.
 
 
Please pray
 
for those who share their stories on behalf of their community. It is not an easy task and often results in severe consequences on themselves and their family. 
 
Future Advocacy
 
As mentioned the next step is to continue to put greater pressure on the Central Government. Continue to pray for wisdom on strategies and working effectively with partners on the ground.
 

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