Y Phic Hdok và cựu Đại sứ Hoa Kỳ Daniel Kritenbrink

“The Montagnards Stand for Justice” advocates for justice through peaceful means.

Y Phic Hdok và cựu Đại sứ Hoa Kỳ Daniel Kritenbrink

“The Montagnards Stand for Justice” advocates for justice through peaceful means.

“I’m not sure if someone has incited this. But the outcome will affect peaceful advocacy groups and civil society, and the authorities will exploit this to frame people,” said a representative of the organization.

Y Phic Hdok, co-founder of Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ), currently living in California, stated:

“On the morning of the 12th, which is evening in Vietnam, I saw the news on social media. It was posted on ‘Trần Minh Lợi’s’ Facebook page. After he posted about the incident, he deleted the post and wrote, ‘I temporarily suspend information about the incident in Cư Kuin.’”

At that time, I didn’t know what happened. After a while, I saw many news and videos about people in military uniforms carrying guns, and I knew they were ethnic minority people in Đắk Lắk. I was very surprised because I had never seen anything like this before, partly believing and partly doubting.

The government is actively propagating that this is a terrorist case related to “hostile forces.”

I also had many questions, whether this was true or just a joke, then more information was posted on social media about police officers being shot and some outsiders being killed. I was extremely shocked.

Until now, many articles and videos are still unclear. Many civilians have been arrested and beaten, even though they were just wearing military uniforms while working in the fields, or people wearing casual clothes on the streets. Meanwhile, ethnic Kinh people wearing military uniforms were fine, showing clear discrimination between the Ê Đê people and the Kinh people.

According to information from the Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ), people are very upset about land disputes and land grabbing in Krông Búk district. Some people working for the government in Cư Né commune also participated in this land grab.

In Cư Mgar district, there was a demand for the Êa Pôk company to return land to the people since 2022. They protested but were not resolved. In May 2023, they continued to demand land from the company but were not facilitated. In response, the authorities used riot police and police to arrest and beat the leaders and indicted 15 leaders demanding land.

46 suspects were arrested, most likely subjected to torture and forced confessions.

In Cư Kuin district, there was a waste spill at the Ea Mtá reservoir on April 20, 2023, and forced land seizure of 64 households on May 27, 2022. There is also the case of the Êa Sim Limited Liability Company, in Cư Kuin district, ordering the forced seizure of a lot to give to the captain of team 5 and taking all the coffee products of the Ede people, including the Kinh people. While the people had invested and worked on their land, the company demanded product taxes. Despite many protests and petitions, no resolution was reached.

However, in other places, people are also dissatisfied with the regime, religion, and culture, and there are cases where Kinh people or regimes discriminating against ethnic minorities look down on indigenous people. Articles in state newspapers or other websites often mention the Montagnards as a minority, even though they do not want to be called a minority, they just hope that the state or the international community will call them indigenous people.

Sometimes, the use of language also causes controversy and their descendants after studying do not have jobs.

Women and children have to work far away and fall into the situation of being deceived into slavery for nefarious activities. People have organized many peaceful protests to demand their land rights and rights, but the authorities did not resolve them and even arrested them, beat them, and tortured them. They are accused of being rebellious and have to be disciplined in front of the people. So, they had to sacrifice, because no one is foolish enough to go kill people.

I think they sacrificed voluntarily, they knew they would be arrested, and they sent all their images to the refugees in Thailand and abroad whom they knew to publicly declare what they did.

However, I’m not sure if someone has incited this. But the outcome will affect peaceful advocacy groups and civil society, and the authorities will exploit this to frame people. From what I see, there are now many discriminatory and different treatment articles against the Kinh people and the Ê-đê people.

Most of the Ê-đê people are Christians, although many household churches are always disturbed, arrested, and beaten, their faith in God is unwavering, they always aim for the beauty of “Living a beautiful faith.” They have asked the authorities for permission to practice, but there has been no response from the authorities. Recently, Pastor Y Krec was arrested for no reason and accused of “destroying unity policies” with a sentence of 15-20 years in prison. And recently, in early June 2023, a Christian believer in Christ whose name is unknown is being detained by the police for no reason.

After this incident, the authorities are using it as an excuse to suppress innocent people unrelated to the armed group, they are beaten, many unofficial social media pages backed by the state incite division and hatred between the Kinh and the indigenous people. This has been clearly demonstrated on social media, I am concerned for the innocent people, as well as human rights activists, and those currently living in Thailand. They may be kidnapped as they did to Trương Duy Nhất and Đường Văn Thái. On social media, there are threats to kidnap them back to Vietnam, there is information from Vietnam that they will pay a large sum of money to do this, although it is not certain, but this is a very dangerous threat to their lives.

(Translated from RFA)

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