The Degar, or Montagnards, are collectively the indigenous tribal people of Vietnam. Today a remnant still survives in the Central Highlands, although systematic repression and violent persecution at the hands of the Communist regime in Hanoi threatens their existence.
Hanoi deems Degar Christianity a “reactionary” and “evil” religion. Those refusing to renounce their faith may expect prison and torture. Many have fled into Cambodia, which rejects them as illegal migrants and repatriates them at Vietnam’s request.
On 11 September the Cambodian government gave the UN refugee agency in Phnom Penh three months to repatriate some 200 Degar Christians or Cambodian security forces will do it themselves.
Vietnam has indicated that it is “ready to receive” the Montagnards and has assured the UNHCR that “it will not discriminate against or punish them.” But as noted by the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, Phil Robertson, Vietnam’s assurances cannot be trusted, for Degar believers have been lured back before only to be arrested and tortured on arrival.
Source: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin
- Pray the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will protect the Degar Christian refugees.
- Pray Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang will end the repression and violent persecution of Vietnam’s indigenous Degar Christians and that this crisis will shine a spotlight on Vietnam’s critical decline in religious freedom.
- Pray the Lord will intervene for the Degar church; may they know His presence, comfort, provision and protection.
VIETNAM: Authorities Crushing Christian Minorities