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World News

Vietnam labels two human rights organisations which support Christians as 'terrorist' groups

by Donna Birrell

Vietnamese state media has declared two human rights organisations which support a largely Christian community as terrorist groups.

The groups, Montagnard Support Group Inc (MSGI) which has its headquarters in the United States and Montagnard Stand for Justice (MSFJ), which was established in Thailand specialise in defending the rights of the Montagnard minority ethnic group.

The majority of Montagnards are Christians and live in Vietnam’s central highlands. The community has a long history of conflict with the Vietnamese government and has faced intense harassment and intimidation since a June 2023 attack on provincial Communist party offices in Dak Lak that left nine dead, including local party officials and police.

The MSGI and MSFJ are accused of having helped plan the attack in Dak Lak, but leaders of both groups strongly deny these allegations.

The Vietnamese government’s press release named several human rights activists as terrorists and threatened that anyone working with them would face similar charges. It went on to give the personal home addresses of several key human rights figures in Thailand and the US.

CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said:

“The government of Vietnam is endangering the lives of human rights defenders by naming them and sharing their addresses on state media, which poses an immediate security concern and is clearly intended to silence, harass and intimidate. The government of Vietnam is an authoritarian state that is paranoid that the world will know the true nature of their control and repression of religious and ethnic minorities, and this is further evidence of its lack of inhibitions in participating in transnational repression against activists who are simply exercising their right to freedom of expression. CSW rejects the designation of the MSGI and MSFJ as terrorist organisations and we call on the Vietnamese government to recognise human rights groups as legitimate voices in any healthy civil society.”


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