Hmong Women at the Market place in Vietnam

Open Letter to President Trump on Religious Persecution of the Hmong and Montagnard Minorities of Vietnam

Photo credit: Linda De Volder, Creative Commons Some rights reserved

International experts on religious freedom in Vietnam celebrate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam relations and call for help for the religious minorities of Vietnam in an open letter to the United States President Trump.  

The discrimination against the Christian minorities of Hmong and Montagnard ethnicities are suffering. According to Kelsey Zorzi, Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom, ADF International and co-author of the open letter, Christian minorities are “subjected to harassment, threats, detention, torture, denial of livelihood, and denial of basic citizens’ rights.” Jubilee Campaign signed the letter together with 38 other organizations and individuals who support the religious freedom rights of these minority groups in Vietnam. 

The Montagnard and Hmong communities converted to Christianity through American missionaries in the 1960s and since then, tens thousands of this religious minority communities have been the target of discrimination from local authorities. Because of discrimination from the government, Montagnards and Hmongs are denied registration rights. Kelsey Zorzi makes it clear that, 

“Without registration documents, these Christians cannot get a citizenship ID card, own property, obtain legal employment, apply for a business license, open a bank account, receive public services, or even use the public library. Married couples may not obtain a marriage certificate, and their children may be denied a birth certificate. They are functionally stateless in their own country.”

In its quest to stop the spread of Christianity, local authorities have driven some Hmong communities to rural areas that lack basic amenities like water and healthcare services. The open letter to the U.S. President asks for the support of the President to bring awareness of the inhumane situation of the Hmong and Montagnard communities with the Vietnamese government.