On the 28th of August, 181 Vietnamese refugees –mainly Christians–were arrested near Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.
On the 28th of August, there were mass arrests in the suburbs of Bangkok. A group of 181 refugees from an ethnic minority were arrested for being illegal residents. According to articles 11, 62 and 81 of Thai law, the detainees are at risk of being expelled from the country or being prosecuted. The arrests happened after complaints by local citizens.
Fifty children were also arrested and separated from their parents. Some of them have serious health problems and need medical assistance. Most of the those arrested are Highlanders —persons who live in the highlands of Vietnam, and are likely to suffer intense persecution if they are deported to their home country.
The Highlanders suffer from discrimination.
The Highlanders are discriminated against because of their ethnic and religious affiliations.
Since 2001, thousands of Highlanders have left their home country and have looked for asylum in the neighbouring countries. Because of the religious persecution that is ongoing in Vietnam, many have had their lands confiscated.
In Cambodge and Thailand, refuges are in continuous danger because their refugee status has not been acknowledged, given that the two countries in question are not signatories to the international agreements that deal with the issue of refugees.
Seeking freedom for the refugees
Minority communities are present on both sides of the Vietnamese border. According to Brad Adams, the director of the Human Rights Federation in Asia, “Thailand violated its international commitments by taking fifty children from their parents, who are refugees, and detaining them. Their refugee status, obtained from the United Nations, should preclude them from being arrested.” He added: “The Thai authorities should set them free immediately.”
Vietnam is the 18th country on the ‘World Watch List’ for the persecution of Christians. It is a country where your faith can cost you your life. Curiously, a new law about faith and religion came into force on the 1st of January last. It pledges to create a “solid legal base to guarantee the liberty of faith and religion for the people.” The International Federation of the League of Human Rights and the Community for the Defence of Human Rights in Vietnam affirmed that “since the law came into force, authorities have intensified their harassment of the non-registered religious groups such as the Hòa Hao united Buddhist Church of Vietnam and some other minority ethnic groups.”
The Hmongs, another Christian minority persecuted in Vietnam
The Hmongs are another ethnic minority in Vietnam that is oppressed by the government. The authorities justify their action, indicating that they are striving to protect the “traditional culture” of the country. Among the members of this ethnic group, Christianity is becoming more and more popular. Members have to endure violence from the locals and tolerate restrictions from the government, which supervises their church and limits their religious activities.
Source: Portes Ouvertes