Since 2011, the Montagnard Human Rights Organization no longer provides immigration and family reunification services to refugees and asylum seekers due to the lack of continued funding and the inability to sustain a large caseload of immigration petitions without adequate long term funding and staff. We are grateful for the privilege to have received U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Accreditation as a recognized immigration service provider for many years and to have served several hundred refugees with their immigration and family reunification needs.
The situation in Vietnam has not changed and the government of Vietnam continues its persecution and abuse of the Montagnard people through religious pressure and human rights violations. Conditions in Vietnam have gotten much worse for the Montagnard people. For these reasons, Montagnard refugees continue to flee and to make the dangerous journey to cross the Cambodia and Thailand borders to seek refuge and protection. MHRO continues its focus on human rights, freedom of religion and protection for refugees.
It is the Vision and commitment of MHRO to urge the attention of the US government, the United Nations, the leaders and nations of the free world, and human rights organizations to become aware of the persecution of the Montagnard people in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and to use every available peaceful means to persuade the government of Vietnam to end the unjust policies and actions which cause suffering and inequality to the Montagnard people.
MHRO believes in the importance of educating policy makers and the international community about the rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and the rights of indigenous peoples in Vietnam.
SUMMARY OF ADVOCACY SINCE 2011
January 24, 2012, MHRO Executive Director provides testimony as a witness for the US Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Hearing.
February 18-22, 2012, Rong Nay, MHRO Executive Director and John Alles, advisor, traveled to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, for participation in the meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). MHRO submitted a report to UN CERD.
September 23, 2012
Montagnards, Cham and Khmer Krom form historic alliance and create The Council of Indigenous Peoples in Today’s Vietnam ( See story at www.ciptvn.org)
April 7-11, 2013, a MHRO delegation including Rong Nay, Kay Reibold, John Alles, Pastor Y Hin Nie, Tan Dara Thach, the President of CIP TVN, and Anna Ksor Buonya had advocacy meetings in Washington, DC which included meetings with NC Senator Kay Hagan at her office, the U.S. Department of State, and the White House US Trade Representative. The delegation presented concerns about ongoing violations in Vietnam, especially, the abuse of Montagnard Christians.
“MHRO and CIP TVN delegation at office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio”
MHRO representatives also outlined human rights and environmental concerns to the chief U.S. trade negotiator in the U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR) concerning the ongoing development in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam.
MHRO asked that, in addition to labor rights, all human rights including the specific rights of indigenous peoples should be included in the final language of the TPP agreement, and any amendments associated with the agreement. Concern was expressed about large companies working in Vietnam without any adequate legal protection for workers; for protection of endangered natural resources, wildlife, the environment, and the rights of indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands have already been violated due to intense pressure from the assimilation policies perpetrated by the government.
On the same day, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights held a hearing, “Highlighting Vietnamese government Human Rights Violations in Advance of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue.” Anna Ksor Buonya, a Montagnard lawyer and spokesperson for the Montagnard Human Rights Organization, provided testimony and presented a list of human rights violations experienced by the Montagnards in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
June 4-5, 2013, 60 Montagnards from NC joined with 1,000 Vietnamese Americans from different U.S. states to participate in the Vietnam Advocacy Day for US Congress and the campaign of human rights for Vietnam.
2014 UPDATE: Religious freedom and human rights conditions in Vietnam continue to deteriorate for the Montagnard Indigenous Peoples. The government of Vietnam keeps its campaign to force Montagnard pastors to register in government religious activities and government approved churches. This oppression and intimidation also has impacted the religious and cultural freedom of the Cham, the Khmer-Krom and Hmong for the past decades.
March 26, 2014, MHRO Executive Director testified before the U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights in the hearing, “ Registration of Religious Activities in Vietnam.”
April 26-27, 2014, MHRO and the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Today’s Vietnam (CIP TVN), participated in the Counterparts reunion in Greensboro, NC. This was an opportunity for the Montagnard community to reconnect with many veterans and friends from the Vietnam War era and to encourage their support. Montagnard culture and music was performed at the dinner.
October 4, 2014, a meeting with a group of the Montagnard students at Cameron Village Library Raleigh NC.
November 5, 2014, MHRO leaders and Kay Reibold met with Ms. Cynthia Ramos, Professional Staff from the Office of U.S. Senator Richard Burr at the Cameron Village Library in Raleigh, NC, to discuss the draft of the Montagnard U.S. Senate Resolution which Senator Burr later introduced to Congress.
January 13-15, 2015, Rong Nay, MHRO Executive Director and Tan Dara, President of CIP TVN, traveled to Washington DC for meetings. This advocacy mission was arranged by Mary Blatz , a long time advocate for human rights in Cambodia. The trip included:
- Meeting with Mr. Morton Sklar, international lawyer. This was an opportunity to discuss details about Montagnard, Khmer-Krom and Cham case as Indigenous Peoples in Vietnam.
- Meeting with Mr. R. Michael Schiffer, Senior Advisor/Counselor for the Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate. U.S. policy towards Vietnam was discussed and the delegation described how the government of Vietnam continues to abuse, mistreat and discriminate against Indigenous Peoples since 1975.
- Meeting with Walker Zorensky, Legislative Aide to Barbara Boxer US Senator California. We discussed and requested that Senator Boxer support and co-sponsor the Montagnard Resolution that Senator Richard Burr will re-introduce again this year.
March 3, 2015, MHRO Executive Director and Pastor Y Hin Nie met with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom in Washington, DC.
May 1-2, 2015, over hundred Montagnard, Khmer-Krom and Cham joined the Counterparts organization at a historic Living Memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC USA, dedicated to the Montagnard, Khmer-Krom and Cham allies during the Vietnam War.
At the Counterparts Reunion at the Westin Hotel, the Montagnard and Khmer-Krom dance groups performed traditional dances and music.
May 18, 2015, MHRO Executive Director attended a meeting at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina with other refugee advocates and service providers in which he met with Anne Richard, the Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Refugees, Population and Migration( PRM).
June 19, 2015, The Montagnard and Cham dancers performed their culture and music at a grand celebration commemorating 40 years of the Vietnam-American-Montagnard history at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
August 3-6, 2015, MHRO and CIP TVN delegation met with two NC Senators’ staff and with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC. In the afternoon, the delegation participated in a meeting with DOS Bureau of International Organization Affairs and Human Rights, and also met with staff from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations and the UNHCR Representative in DC.
The government of Vietnam continues its pressure of the Montagnard Indigenous Peoples with religious persecution and Human Rights violations. This has caused hundreds of Montagnard people to cross into Cambodia and Thailand seeking refuge and protection.
April 4-14, 2016,
MAP Director John Alles and MHRO Director Rong Nay deliver humanitarian aid to refugees.
A MHRO delegation with Rong Nay, Executive Director, and John Alles, advisor, traveled to Thailand and Cambodia in a fact-finding and humanitarian mission to deliver aid and to document the conditions of 238 Montagnard refugees in Thailand and 211 Montagnard refugees in Cambodia. (*see attached report in collaboration with The Montagnard Assistance Project/MAP see story at www.montagnardassist.org
Montagnard Children Hope for a New Life
May 9-11, 2016, MHRO, along with a CIP TVN delegation, traveled to New York to submit a Genocide Petition to the United Nations filed against the government of Vietnam. This petition documents a century long history of the destruction of the Montagnard, Khmer-Krom and Cham indigenous peoples in Vietnam.
June 27-29, 2016 2 day advocacy trip with meetings in Washington, DC concerning the U.S. and UNHCR policies towards Montagnard refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand and Cambodia. The MHRO delegation consisted of Rong Nay, Kay Reibold and John Alles.
Meetings took place with staff from the U.S. State Department’s DRL, EAP and PRM Bureaus. Other meetings included staff from NC Senator Burr’s office and NC Senator Thom Tillis. The delegation also met with the UNHCR director of U.S. Refugee Admissions at the UNHCR headquarters in DC. Recommendations and concerns from MHRO were presented at the meetings.
July 9-25, 2016, The CIPTVN delegation including Rong Nay, Tan Dara Thach, Professor Po Dharma and human rights lawyer Morton Sklar, travel to Geneva, Switzerland and Paris, France, for participation in the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Conference for 4 days. In addition, the CIPTVN delegation had special meetings set up by lawyer Morton Sklar with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCHR; the Human Rights Officer for the Asia-Pacific Section, the Human Rights Officer for Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section, the Human Rights Officer for Special Procedures Branch and International Labor Organization. The delegation also had a meeting with the World Organization against Torture, OMCT. In Paris, the CIPTVN delegation met with Laos and Khmer representatives.
September 1-4, 2016, San Jose/CA, USA, MHRO Executive Director participated in a large meeting with the Cham Indigenous Peoples community of the U.S. for discussion and fund raising for both the Cham Organization and the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Today’s Vietnam.