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AFP - Agence France Presse - http://www.afp.com
Vietnam religious minorities face persecution says activist

2012-02-20 | | AFP

GENEVA, 20 February 2012 (AFP) - Authorities in Vietnam deliberately persecute and discriminate against religious minorities, a Vietnamese human rights campaigner told the UN on Monday.

"The indigenous Montagnards and the Hmongs are among the ethnic groups who have borne the brunt of the Vietnamese governments discriminatory policies," Vo Van Ai, president of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights said.

He cited the cases of members of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), the Hoa Hao -- a Chinese minority --, the Cao Dai and Buddhist Khmer Krom who face persecution.

Ai told the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva that these minorities "are subject to imprisonment, torture, house arrest, police surveillance, intimidation and harassment in their daily lives."

The head of the UBCV, Thich Quang Do, is "still under house arrest at Thanh Minhh Zen monastery after nearly 30 years in various forms of detention for the peaceful advocacy of religious freedom".

"Ethnic and religious minorities in Vietnam suffer serious violations of their political and economic rights, such as expropriation from ancestral lands, population displacement," said Ai.

He cited also "state-sponsored migration of Kinh people into minority regions, religious persecution, arbitrary arrest and disappearances."

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