Ven. Danh Tol Testifies on Religious Repression Before US Committee

 June 4, 2013

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[Video Source: Subcommittee Hearing: U.S. Relations with Vietnam ]

In a recent U.S subcommittee hearing on the continuing repression by the Vietnamese Government, Ven. Danh Tol testified before the committee that the government of Vietnam continues to violate religious freedom and make every action to control and put the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhism under state control.

The committee chair, Rep. Chris Smith, shows great awareness and sympathy towards the testimony of Ven. Danh Tol and several other victims of repression by government of Vietnam. Rep. Smith asserts that Vietnam continues “to violate a wide range of fundamental human rights” and urged his government to take more measure to address the issue with Vietnam.

Among those concrete measures, Smith wants Vietnam to be re-listed by the US State Department as a country of concern because the persecution of ethnic or religious group and other violations including forcible land confiscations from its own citizens.

Venerable was a direct victim of the Vietnamese government’s religious persecution, he was imprisoned in 2007 for participating in religious demonstration which demanded end to oppression on Khmer-Krom Buddhism.

“Khmer Krom monks do not have freedom of expression, cannot access information, because access to information is considered a revolution by the monks,” he said. “That’s why communist Vietnam always prevents monks’ rights.” Said the Venerable.

The Venerable also stresses the need for Khmer-Krom Buddhist institution exist without political control by Vietnam as it does today. 

The act of the Vietnam shows that it does not wish to see the “continue progress of the Theravada Buddhism, but to end it.”

Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks are of particular favorite for the government’s target of torture, humiliation, and persecution when it comes to religious repression.

Along with this note, Venerable Danh Tol pointed out that there are just as many Vietnamese Buddhist monks and religious leaders who are also vocal about the religious freedom issue, but only Khmer-Krom monks are targeted for forced defrocking.

 

Khmer-Krom community united in global protest: Demands end to persecution of religious leaders and Buddhist monks.

 

   June 4th,  2013
European Protest

An organized global action is under way today as the Khmer-Krom community and their supporters have gathered in front of Vietnamese Embassies around the world to protest against a downward spiraling trend of human rights conditions and abuses against their indigenous culture in South Vietnam.

 

Events precipitating to this on scale global protest arises first from the arrest of a Khmer-Krom buddhist monk, Venerable Ly Chanda of Prey Chop temple from Soc Trang (Kleang) province in Vietnam on May 16th, 2013. The Vietnamese government had accused the Venerable of listening to and providing false interview to an oversea human rights NGO.

 

Despite the fact that the Vietnamese constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, press, and opinion, it did not stop the government from exercising it’s communist state power to discriminate against and prosecute Venerable Ly Chanda on charges which amounts to no more than listening to the radio and giving an interview.

 

In this flagrant disregard for the Venerable’s rights as declared in country’s constitution and in violation of the International Declarations of Human Rights, authorities ordered armed police to desecrate the temple, breaking windows, and forcing down the pagoda door to forcibly remove the Venerable where he was then taken for interrogation and tortured;  injected with unknown substance, and beaten until unconscious.

 

Following the humiliating treatment of Venerable Ly Chanda and his subsequent televised public defrocking and coerced confession, authorities expanded their crackdown and arrested two more Buddhist monks, the abbot of Ta Set pagoda, Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol.  Along with the religious leaders, two laypersons, Tra Tha, and Thach Phum Rich were also arrested on charges of supporting the monks. Their whereabouts and safety today, remains unknown.

The protests, which is being undertaken around the world, including Paris-France, Australia, Canada, Cambodia, and the U.S.A  condemns these arrests, and the infringement upon Khmer-Krom communities by the state, to exercise and practice their culture without fear and intimidation.


In addition to the demands on Vietnam for immediate and unconditional release of the religious leaders, the Khmer-Krom communities appeal to the U.S to re-list Vietnam under the CPC (countries of particular concern) when it comes to religious freedom.


A U.S based protest will be staged today in front of the Vietnamese embassy at Washington D.C from 11:00 A.M to 12:30 PM at the address below:

1233 20th Street., Washington, DC 20036

National & international media are invited to join the Khmer-Krom communities as they continue their global action to call for respect of their human rights in Vietnam.


Photos from protests from around the world:

    European Protest

Continue reading “Khmer-Krom community united in global protest: Demands end to persecution of religious leaders and Buddhist monks.”

Letter of Appeal – June 4th, 2013: Protesting Human Rights Violation

4th June 2013

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Today, we gather in front of the Vietnamese Embassies in Washington DC (United States), in Ottawa (Canada), in Paris (France), in Canberra (Australia), in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and elsewhere to protest the recent human rights and religious persecution of our Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monks from Prey Chop Temple and Ta Set Temple as well as several Khmer-Krom Buddhist followers by the Vietnamese government.

Khmer Krom Protest gathering 2013, June 4th

We are here to DEMAND Vietnam stop prosecuting our Khmer-Krom Monks for exercising for their rights to express their opinions.

Our Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monks are the heart and soul of the indigenous Khmer-Krom peoples in our homeland. To defrock, torture and imprison our defenseless Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monks is a direct violation of the International Religious Freedom Act, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

 

Vietnam often boasts at the international arena that it respects the rights of all people living within its borders but recent events tell a different disturbing tale especially with its treatment of the indigenous Khmer-Krom peoples.

On May 16th 2013, Vietnam authorities attempted to defrock three Khmer-Krom monks in Soc Trang for allegedly contacting outside organizations. The first monk, Venerable Ly Chanh Da from Prey Chop Temple was taken by Vietnamese authorities, forced to defrock, tortured until unconscious and called the Khmer-Krom villagers to pick him up at the police station. When the local villages picked him, he was incoherent and they tried to administrate medication. Out of respect to the unjustifiable defrocking, they placed Buddhist robes back on Venerable Ly Chanh Da. Vietnamese authorities came back with a television crew and publicly defrocked Venerable Ly Chanh Da again and forced him to confession on live television. Three women who supported Venerable Ly Chanh Da was also taken into custody and remains in jail.

More than a hundred Vietnamese police and local authority representatives then headed to Ta Set temple and tried to defrock Abbot Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol. With the help of 300 followers who believed in the monks’ innocence, they were unsuccessful. Abbot Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Tra Tha and Thach Phum Rich were captured on May 20th 2013. Their conditions and whereabouts remains unknown. We greatly fear for their safety.

 

On behalf of our defenseless Buddhist monks and people who are currently held in the custody, we ask Vietnam to release Abbot Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol immediately without condition on harm.

• Reaffirm and remind Vietnam that under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), our Buddhist Monks have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

• Ask Vietnam to stop violating Article 5 of the UDHR which states that No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

• Remind Vietnam Article 19 of the UDHR, states that our Khmer-Krom monks have the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

• Ask Vietnam to stop using our sacred Theravada Buddhism religion and our monks as a means to extend political control over our people.

• Remind Vietnam to treat our Khmer-Krom monks with respect and dignity.

• Ask Vietnam to release Thach Phum Rich and Tra Tha safely to their families.

• Ask Vietnam to provide much needed medical aid and to allow Venerable Ly Chanh Da to re-ordain as a Buddhist monk and return safely to his temple.

• Ask the U.S. Secretary of State to put Vietnam back on the list of “Country of Particular Concern”

• We urgent appeal to all civic society, Foreign Embassies as well as all citizens that respect and support human rights and religious freedom to help us spread the words about the flight of our defenseless monks and civilians.

We are here because we have the right to conduct peaceful demonstration to protest the violent actions of the Vietnamese government has committed against our voiceless people. We know for a fact that if we did this in our homeland of Kampuchea-Krom, we would be prosecuted; our monks would be defrocked and imprisoned.

We are here today to remind Vietnam that Human Rights and Religious Freedom are rights, not privilege. Stop the violence against our people. Stop treating us as second class citizens. We only ask for equal, unbiased rights that guaranteed under UDHR and UNDRIP.

Australia protest, June 4th 2013

 
Australia protest, June 4th, 2013