Vinh (AsiaNews )
- A number of Vietnamese religious leaders from various faiths has issued a a
press release in support of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Vinh at a
time when the latter are under a violent
defamatory attack by official media and local authorities.
The statement, signed
by the representatives of various group, was released yesterday. In it, the
signatories express sympathy and solidarity with the diocese and its members for
leading the fight for people's rights against the
abuses by local government and police.
The members of My
Yen Parish, which is at the centre of the dispute, have been calling for the liberation
of two fellow members in jail since last June without any formal charge against
In light of the My
Yen affair, Catholic officials, leaders of other Christian denominations, Cao
Dai followers and members of the Hoa Hao Central Buddhist Church, many of whom have
also been victims of government violence, have expressed their "unanimous
support" for and closeness to the bishop and the local Catholic Church, who
are the victims of "deviant, violent, devious and ruthless actions"
by Nghe An authorities.
local authoriites, the armed forces and official media were unanimously
criticised for the use of violent methods, twisting the facts, and trying to
harm the integrity of Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop and all the religious in his diocese
in order to carry out their criminal designs.
address to Nghe An provincial leaders, the religious leaders called on them to
find better ways to settle disputes and reduce the social tensions that have
been simmering for a long time in the province. They also want a stop to abuses
and anonymous seizures because, they warn, the perpetrators will eventually be
judged "by international law or divine justice."
in mind, they urge people, at home and abroad, to come out against the crimes
committed by Communist authorities and to show solidarity with the victims of their
acts of violence.
recent past, the Vietnamese government has been involved for some time in a
campaign of repression against bloggers, activists and dissidents seeking
religious freedom, respect for civil rights, or the end of the one-party state.
has been launched for that purpose.
alone, Hanoi has arrested more than 40 activists for crimes "against the
state", a legal notion human rights groups consider too general and vague.
Catholic Church has also been subjected to constraints and restrictions; its
members, victims of persecution.
case back in January, a Vietnamese court sentenced 14 people, including some Catholics,
to prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, a ruling
criticised forcefully by and human rights activists and movements.