Vietnam: Montagnard Christians

House of Lords written question – answered on 4th May 2004.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made to the Government of Vietnam regarding the killing of Montagnard Christians in the central highlands of Vietnam during demonstrations over the Easter weekend.

Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Middle East)

We are very concerned about the recent violence in the central highlands, and in particular about the reported deaths of several protestors. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development (Gareth Thomas) raised the issue during his visit to Vietnam on 21 April. Our ambassador in Hanoi expressed our concern to the Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister on 16 April and again on 20 April with EU partners at the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With our EU partners, we called on the Vietnamese authorities to respect fully international human rights standards in their response to demonstrations; to allow the international community access to the area; and to address the grievances of the ethnic minority people in the central highlands.

My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mike O'Brien) raised the situation of the Montagnards as well as broader human rights issues, including freedom of religion, during his visit to Vietnam on 16–18 March 2004.

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