Sep 10, 2006

UNPO Appeals after Death of Montagnard

The Hague, 10 September - UNPO has issued an appeal in context of the death of a Montagnard Degar man known as Thup after he had being subjected to severe torture.

The Hague, 10 September 2006 - UNPO has issued an appeal following the death of a Montagnard Degar man known as Thup after being subjected to severe torture.


On August 30, 2006, a Montagnard Degar man known as Thup died in Trai Ba Sao prison in Ha Nam after being subjected to severe torture. Thup, from the Plei Dop village, Kon Gang commune, DakDoa district, GiaLai province, was arrested on March 24, 2004. He was thereupon sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on February 24, 2005—on the charge of a public order offence. His family has been denied his body for burial.


Over 350 other Degar prisoners remain in prisons in Vietnam for charges involving engagement in human rights activities, spreading Christianity, or attempting to flee to Cambodia.  Many Montagnard Degar people returning to Vietnam from refugee camps in Cambodia administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have also been detained in cells in provincial prisons like Pleiku and repeatedly tortured.


UNPO remains deeply concerned at the current and ongoing situation for the Montagnard Degar people in Vietnam and UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin has appealed to authorities in Vietnam to:


- make a public commitment to end the practice of torture, aligned with Vietnam’s status as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;


- urge the appointment of a special commission with the power to prosecute and discipline security officials accused of torture and excessive use of force during demonstrations in the Central Highlands;


- ensure religious freedom by ending the arrests and imprisonments of the Montagnard Degar people for attending religious gatherings and stopping forced pledges renouncing their religion; and


- end the arrests of Montagnards Degar people returning from Cambodia, in violation of the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding between UNHCR, Cambodia, and Vietnam.


The Montagnards have been Members of UNPO since 2003.