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Vietnam: 14 Die as Troops Converge On Hmong

Vietnam: 14 Die as Troops Converge On Hmong

May 9, 2011, Washington, D.C., Dien Bein Phu, Vietnam, and Phongsali, Laos

CPPA- Center for Public Policy Analysis
info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

Fresh combat regiments of Vietnam Peoples Army's soldiers are now converging in a key province of Northern Vietnam to attack and arrest thousands of Hmong Catholic, Protestant and independent Animist religious believers demonstrating for human rights, religious freedom, land reform and an end to illegal logging and deforestation. Fourteen (14) more Viet-Hmong people were confirmed dead in overnight clashes between Vietnam's army and ethnic Hmong demonstrators who are Vietnamese citizens At least 63 protesters have been killed since the outbreak of the peaceful, mass demonstrations, according to the Center for Public Policy Analysis, Hmong non-governmental organizations, and Hmong, Vietnamese and Laotian sources in Dien Bien province, and along the Vietnam- Laos border, where the demonstrations began over a week ago..

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) has announced that it has sealed off the area of the demonstrations to independent journalists and news media, baring journalists from covering the events involving thousands of protesters, and has deployed army troops to end the public rallies and appeals.

“On completely false pretext, and wrong information, the military generals in Hanoi have sent more army troops to attack and arrest our freedom-loving Hmong people which it continues to falsely accuse with wild distortions and misinformation, while at the same time not allowing independent news media and journalists to visit the ordinary Hmong people in Vietnam who have protested against the current injustices, suffering, and religious persecution,” said Christy Lee, Executive Director of Hmong Advance, Inc. in Washington, D.C. “Why are Vietnam's Party leaders afraid of the truth as to why the people are demonstrating in Dien Bien for meaningful and real change and reform in Vietnam ?”

“The mass demonstration for reform in Vietnam's Dien Bien province included nearly 5,000 peaceful Hmong Protestant Christians and 2,000 Hmong Catholics with the rest being peace-loving Hmong Animists.” Ms. Lee said. “The Vietnam People's Army has now killed at least 63 people who were unarmed and peace-loving citizens of Vietnam, many hundreds have been injured or have now disappeared at the hands of the Army which has loaded the Hmong people onto trucks with the soldiers beating them”

Ms. Lee stated further: “The Vietnamese and Viet- Hmong people in Dien Bien province and along the Vietnam – Laos border area in Northern Vietnam have told us that are poor people simply calling on the government in Hanoi, and Communist politburo officials, to restore basic human rights and justice to the Vietnamese common people, and minority citizens, in the province of Dien Bien.”

“The Vietnamese Hmong want Hanoi to institute land reform policies and grant them greater freedom of religion and basic human rights, including an end to oppressive religious persecution as well as halting illegal logging in the province whereby the government is driving the Hmong people from their sacred forest and mountain homelands in Vietnam and Laos,” Lee concluded.

“Today, local sources have reported that fresh regiments of Vietnam People's Army troops in military trucks and vehicles are converging in greater force strength at the sites of the Hmong demonstrations in Dien Bien province from key highways leading to the area including the strategic Route 6 and Route 42,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

“We are concerned that many hundreds of Hmong protesters, who are Vietnamese citizens, are being arrested, beaten and forced onto Army trucks by soldiers where they are disappearing after being transported out of the area to unknown locations in Vietnam or Laos,” Smith said.

“The new Vietnam People's Army (VPA) army units deployed against the protesters include regimental-strength convoys of military trucks and armored personnel carriers targeting the Hmong demonstrators for arrest and transport,, by force, to unknown locations,” Smith said.

“At least eight more Hmong Christian demonstrators, five men and three women, were killed overnight in clashes with the Army and Vietnamese security forces in Dien Bien province,” Smith said citing Hmong, Vietnamese and non-governmental sources on location in Dien Bien province and the Laos and Vietnamese border area of Northern Vietnam.

“Fresh regiments of Vietnam People's Army soldiers are being deployed to Dien Bien province and are continuing to attack and pursuing many of the peaceful Hmong Catholic and Protestant demonstrators pursuing them into their villages and the mountains,” Smith stated. “ Heliborne combat troops have been deployed as well as M-8 helicopter gunships to attack and pursue the Hmong in the highland areas.”

“Additionally, early this morning, five Hmong demonstrators, 3 men and 2 women, were machined gunned to death by an armored personnel carrier when the were caught fleeing the protest region, on Route 42, and had the misfortune of running into a mechanized regiment of Vietnam People's Army troops that were being newly deployed to the area,” Smith commented.

“Unfortunately, the group of five Hmong who were machine-gunned to death this morning by the Army were ordinary and poor people— mountain-dwelling, Animist believers who had joined the demonstrations only to seek land reform, human rights and greater religious freedom for their suffering people in this neglected area of Northern Vietnam,” Smith said.

ENDS

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