Misjudgment of the Vietnamese Government Towards Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ)

Misjudgment of the Vietnamese Government Towards Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ)

Most recently, on April 26, 2024, unofficial information channels of the Vietnamese government continued to publish articles with provocative content, aimed at the psychology and national pride of the people. They refuse to acknowledge the fabrication of peaceful human rights groups, as well as those who advocate for the rights of ethnic minorities and religious freedom as illegal acts, violating international law. Regardless of the truth, they deliberately fabricate to instill fear in the public, forcing them to believe in what the government says is right, and fearing that these activists will render the government’s words ineffective for the entire Vietnamese population, especially the indigenous community in the Central Highlands region.

Screenshot from Vietnamese social media supported by the Vietnamese government, consecutively accuses MSFJ.

The Vietnamese government fears that fabricating MSFJ as terrorists will subject them to legal penalties. Therefore, instead of correcting their mistake, they decided to continue fabricating, as admitting wrongdoing would cause them to lose the trust of the people, and be condemned by the international community, exposing their lack of integrity.

The Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ) organization is named after the term “Montagnard” coined by the French to refer to the minority community living in the mountainous regions. The Kinh people have encroached upon their ancestral lands, forest resources. It is important to note that not all ethnic minorities live in the forests. The Kinh have completely seized their fertile ancestral lands in villages, cities, forcing them to migrate, settle in the forests for survival. As the fertile lands are exhausted, ethnic minorities are pushed further into the forests, a cycle that repeats until today.

MSFJ was founded by members Y Quynh Bdap, Y Phic Hdok, Y Pher Hdrue, Y Aron Eban, and volunteers H Tlun Bdap, Y Ruing Knul, Hmla Hdrue, and many others. The organization began operating in 2017, officially launching in July 2019 and registered in the United States in April 2023. The organization’s purpose and mission have been clearly presented to the international community and human rights organizations. However, the Vietnamese government stubbornly fabricates MSFJ as a terrorist organization following a recent unrelated shooting incident. This is an illogical, unjust accusation. From the beginning, the government has shown a lack of integrity and continues to use this false accusation to suppress religious freedom and peaceful movements.

One of the main reasons the Vietnamese government detests and suppresses the Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ) is its significant impact internationally. MSFJ regularly reports human rights violations and government oppression against ethnic minorities to organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), the United Nations, the US Department of State, and many others. This puts pressure on the Vietnamese government in front of the international community.

The second reason is that the majority of MSFJ members are young people with a strong desire to learn about the law, advocate for peace, and stand up for justice. The government fears that if this group grows stronger, they may pose a threat to the party’s leadership in the future or even overthrow the government to establish a Dega autonomous state.

However, it is noteworthy that from the outset, MSFJ has set clear objectives to struggle through peaceful means, in accordance with the law. This is evidenced by hundreds of violation reports sent to the United Nations. It is a vivid testimony to the peaceful, compassionate spirit of this group. They dare to fight for the truth, for the rights of prisoners of conscience and oppressed people, even sacrificing themselves to cross the border to Thailand and continue to speak up for their compatriots.

The Vietnamese government’s statement that “Vietnam is a socialist rule-of-law state of the people, by the people, for the people, always ensuring the supremacy of the law, everyone must comply with the law to ensure national security and social order, no one is oppressed, exploited” is being questioned for its authenticity.

Indeed, words are easy, but implementation is another matter. While the statement claims to be “of the people, by the people,” the freedoms of the people, human rights, land rights, religious freedom, and freedom of speech seem not to be properly guaranteed and respected. Many individuals have suffered, been imprisoned, and tortured, completely contrary to the statement “no one is oppressed, exploited.

The fact that many people are falsely imprisoned, beaten, and tortured as described is vivid evidence that the government has not truly adhered to the principle of “supremacy of the law” as proclaimed. There is a large gap between words and actions, causing doubts about the transparency and accountability of the government.

With many deceitful statements, the Vietnamese government accuses Mr. Y Quynh Buon Dap of directly recruiting, brokering, and contacting. This is how they try to create baseless stories to link Mr. Y Quynh to terrorist activities, tarnishing his reputation. In reality, after being unjustly arrested, many people recounted being forced to declare that it was directed by the MSFJ organization. However, according to the peaceful and transparent principles of MSFJ’s activities, all of their activities are transparent. They are absolutely unrelated to violence, completely contrary to the rumors and fabrications of the Vietnamese government.

The reason MSFJ trains and educates people inside and outside the country is to build a healthy civil society. Training focuses on enhancing legal awareness, helping people understand Vietnamese law as well as international law. This makes the government uncomfortable because they do not want to respect even their own laws. The government is very worried when people have a deep understanding of the law because it weakens their ability to oppress.

In conclusion, the Vietnamese government needs to reconsider its unethical statements. Instead of making baseless claims, they should use the law as a guide, uphold the rule of law and justice to distinguish right from wrong, bringing justice to the people, ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, and the MSFJ organization.

I call on international organizations to carefully consider all fabricated accusations against human rights activists by the Vietnamese government. The MSFJ organization needs special attention and support from the international community. Let us together accompany and continue the struggle for the rights of prisoners of conscience, religious freedom, and the rights of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands.

#MSFJ

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