Y Krec Bya

Persecution of Montagnard Evangelicals in Vietnam: The Arrest of Y Krec Bya Raises Concerns About Human Rights and Religious Freedom.

Y Krec Bya

Montagnard Evangelist Y Krec Bya’s arrest in Vietnam on April 8th, 2023, while celebrating Easter, has drawn international attention to the government’s treatment of religious minorities. Mr. Bya, a member of the Evangelical Church of Christ of the Central Highlands, was charged under Article 116 of Vietnam’s Penal Code, which criminalizes “sabotaging the national unity policy.” The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The Vietnamese government has banned Mr. Bya’s church and ordered him to join the government-sanctioned Evangelical Church of Vietnam—South, which he has refused to do. Consequently, he has faced repeated interrogation and public denunciation. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that he has been targeted for his religious beliefs. In 2004, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for advocating for the religious freedom of the Montagnard people.

On the same day as Mr. Bya’s arrest, eight other members of his church were also detained for interrogation, and all have since been released except for Evangelist Y Coi Bkrong. The crackdown on Montagnard Evangelicals in Vietnam has also led to the criminal prosecution of Pastor A Ga, a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, and founder of the Evangelical Church of Christ of the Central Highlands.

The mistreatment of Montagnard Evangelicals in Vietnam has raised serious concerns regarding the country’s human rights and religious freedom record. The Vietnamese government’s treatment of religious minorities, such as the Montagnard Evangelicals, has been a subject of international criticism.

This situation necessitates the attention and support of the international community to safeguard the fundamental rights of individuals, including the right to freedom of religion or belief. It is crucial that the Vietnamese government ceases its persecution of Montagnard Evangelicals and upholds the country’s obligations under international law.

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