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VIETNAM DENOUNCED FOR ITS "VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS" AGAINST THE MONTAGNARDS

By Dan Wooding A new campaign against the Montagnard repression was announced in a forum held in the US Senate on Vietnam Human Rights Day - May 9th. The Transnational Radical Party (TRP), through a message sent by Marco Pannella and Emma Bonino, both members of the European Parliament, denounced how the Vietnamese regime is "systematically violating international human rights laws, notwithstanding the broad political and financial support it has received over the last decade by the European Union, the United States and many other international institutions." In the statement delivered by Mr. Marco Perduca, United Nations Representative for the TRP, he said, "The Transnational Radical Party is a non-governmental organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations. Through nonviolent means, it promotes human, civil and political rights prescribed by international human rights laws all over the world in dialogue with international and national institutions. "Since its birth in 1988, the TRP has focused its nonviolent activities on countries characterized by authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Vietnam is of course one of those countries. "Over the past years we have brought to the attention of European institution the grave situation of Vietnam, the one of Dr. Que, the persecution of the Unified Buddhist Church, the martial law imposed on the Montagnards living in the Central Highland, because the European Union extensively funds Vietnam. In fact, in 1997, a Cooperation Agreement was signed for more than $160 M, which legally obliges Vietnam to respect human rights and allow democratic reforms. "Under the Cooperation Agreements that tie the European Union and Vietnam, the respect of democratic principles and human, civil and political rights, and consequently the respect of the principle of legality by the authorities of Vietnam cannot be considered anymore as a matter concerning Vietnam only, but it must be a matter of concern for the European Union and its citizens directly. "As Representatives of European citizens, who are convinced in the importance of a solid transatlantic alliance to promote freedom and democracy, we firmly believe that no more money should be given to dictators or to regimes that do not want to open up to democracy." He went on to detail some of the ways TRP has been able to help: Over the years we have supported: - Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, a physician, who on May 1990, acting as representative of the Non Violent Movement for Human Rights, published a manifesto asking the Hanoi Regime to respect basic Human Rights, to accept a multiparty system and to restore the Vietnamese People's right to choose their own form of government through free elections. A distinguished activist that for his work as been imprisoned many times - The appeal of leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam Thich Quang Do in favor of democracy in Vietnam that would allow the realization of a true democratization. That petition was endorsed by numerous international dignitaries as well as of more than 300.000 Vietnamese. - The Appeal to the Hanoi Government, undersigned by 21 Vietnamese dissidents that was calling on the National Assembly to respect the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution". - Father Nguyen Van Ly imprisoned on May 17th 2001 for having practiced his own religion as well as believers of "non-recognized" Churches, and in particular Chao Dai Church, Hoa Hao Church and the Protestant Churches of our Degar friends in the Central Highlands. A spokesperson for the TRP then said, "Over the last two years, in cooperation with a variety of groups and in particular with the Montagnard Foundation, we have carried out a series of activities to promote civil liberties in Vietnam. In particular, on September 21, 2002, on the occasion of the 'World day of nonviolent struggle for Freedom and Democracy also in Vietnam,' dozens of nonviolent demonstrations of Vietnamese, European and American citizens were held all over the world, in front of diplomatic representations of Vietnam - the largest of which here in Washington, DC - where Dr. Quan Nguyen and Mr. Kok Ksor, who are both here with us today, and some 800 members of the Montagnard community from North Carolina participated paying also a tribute to Gandhi Memorial. "Since November 2002, with Mr. Kok Ksor, we have launched an initiative aimed at registering the basic personal data of dozens of thousand of Montagnards, who support the Montagnard Foundation in the Central Highlands, but who also want to join our organization, exercising, in this way their right to freedom of association. This census comprises more than 40.000 Degar. We will use such information to protect them from Hanoi and to keep international institutions constantly informed on their whereabouts and living conditions. "For all these activities the Consultative Status that the TRP enjoys with the UN is under the attack of the Vietnamese Government in these very days in New York. "We, Europeans and Americans, need to be vigilant and work together to urge national and international institutions to abandon the attitude to tolerance toward the constant worsening of the political, social and institutional situation in Vietnam that, according to the promises made, should have evolved toward a bigger respect for basic freedoms and of civil, political and human rights. "Democratic countries and their politicians should commit themselves, in every institutional for a and in their bilateral relations, to urge Vietnam's respect of national and international legality on matters pertaining to basic human rights, sting from civil and political rights to make sure that all the Vietnamese citizens enjoy freedom and democracy. These are our common principles and values that we need to globalize." The spokesman added, "The violations of human rights carried out by Hanoi are targeting all the movements and phenomenon of the Vietnamese society which are not completely under the control of the one-party system ideology: in particular, the religious organizations of the Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants and Hoa Hao, which refuse the interference of the Communist Party in religious affairs, the democratic dissidents who are starting to take advantage of new technologies such as internet, and the community of the indigenous Montagnard peoples who live in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, and who refuse the cultural and political assimilation imposed by Hanoi with a frightening campaign of ethnic cleansing, which has been carried out for decades. "In particular, the Hon. Pannella and the Hon. Bonino announced that, thanks to the work of the Montagnard Foundation, the basic personal data of more than 40.000 Montagnards who support the MFI and want to join the TRP from the Central Highlands, where the martial law is still in place, have been gathered. These Montagnards people are asking to join the TRP exercising their civil and political rights prescribed by international law and binding to Vietnam. "Finally, the TRP has proposed to set up a transatlantic alliance for the promotion of freedom and democracy which could put to an end to the financial support of those regimes which are not willing to open themselves to democratic reforms, such as Vietnam." The TRF announced that 40,000 Montagnards have joined the organization. Their website can be found at: http://www.radicalparty.org/welcome2.html Montagnard: A member of a people inhabiting the mountains and highlands of southern Vietnam near the border of Cambodia The Montangnards worked with the U.S. Special Forces and were fiercely loyal to the American army. Their homeland is in the mountains of southern-central Vietnam, and they are very much like Native American people. Although they were largely abandoned by the U.S. after the war, and have had a very difficult time under the current government, they are true survivors.





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