Religious united in defence of the Diocese of Vinh

Appalled by the ruthlessness of Nghe An provincial leaders’ violent crackdown on a peaceful rally, they unanimously called on the international community’s help to defend human rights in Vietnam.

Vietnam
Sep 12 2013, 6:20 PM
Religious united in defence of the Diocese of Vinh

Catholic, Protestant, and Buddhist religious leaders have jointly issued a press release on Tuesday supporting the bishop and Catholic community of Vinhunder a defamatory attack by the official media and Communist authorities.

Appalled by the ruthlessness of Nghe An provincial leaders’ violent crackdown on a peaceful rally, they unanimously called on the international community’s help to defend human rights in Vietnam.

The members of My Yen Parish of Vinhhad last week held a protest rally demanding the release of two fellow members in jail since last June without any formal charges against them.

Catholic officials, leaders of other Christian denominations, Cao Dai followers and members of the Hoa Hao Central Buddhist Church, many of who were themselves victims of government violence, signed the joint press release.

The signatories expressed their unanimous support, sympathy and solidarity with the diocese and its members for leading the fight for people's rights against the abuses by local government and police.

The statement criticised the local authorities, the armed forces and official media for use of violent methods, manipulation of truth and designs to harm the integrity of Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop and all the religious in his diocese.

In their address to Nghe An provincial leaders, the religious leaders called on them to find better ways to settle disputes and reduce the social tensions that have been simmering for a long time in the province. They also demanded an end to abuses and anonymous seizures because, they warned, the perpetrators will eventually be judged "by international law or divine justice."

The leaders urged people, at home and abroad, to come out against crimes committed by Communist authorities and to show solidarity with victims of violence.

The Vietnamese government has been involved for some time in a campaign of repression against bloggers, activists and dissidents seeking religious freedom, democratic rights, or the end of the one-party state. The Catholic Church too has been subjected to constraints and restrictions; its members often the victims of persecution.

In January, a Vietnamese court sentenced 14 people, including Catholics, to prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the government; the ruling was criticised by human rights activists and movements.

In 2013 alone, Hanoi has arrested more than 40 activists for crimes ‘against the state’, a legal term human rights groups consider too general and vague.

Source: AsiaNews

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