Press Release
(For Immediate Release)
Australian Vietnamese Christian Association Inc.
Melbourne, Wednesday 16 Nov 2011

Australian Vietnamese Catholic Community denounces Vietnamese Communist government’s “extreme actions”

Melbourne, Nov. 19, 2011. The Australian Vietnamese Catholic Community has strongly denounced acts of state-sponsored terrorism against the Catholic Church in Vietnam on the part of the Vietnamese Communist government and appealed to the Australian government to do all it can in order that these acts be ceased immediately and human rights be respected.

“The Vietnamese government have orchestrated a series of attacks using gangs of thugs and the state-controlled media to physically harm and denigrate priests and faithful of the Redemptorist-led parish in Thaiha, Hanoi which has rightfully and peacefully defended their rights and their property. Furthermore, many of the faithful have been intimidated, harassed and even detained” says Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.

To illustrate the urgency of the situation, he adds "The latest incident is especially serious. On November 3rd, hundreds of intruders broke into the courtyard of the church. They used loud speakers to insult and threaten to kill priests and parishioners. They even used sledgehammers to damage the monastery. These outrageous acts were carried out in the presence of security agents and followed by distorted reporting by the state-controlled media in Vietnam.”

“Not only the faithful,” Fr Anthony Nguyen, Chairman of Australian Vietnamese Christian Association Inc said, “Catholic leaders have also been threatened. After a series of interviews with church groups, journalists and parishioners in the country, Amnesty International believes that senior church officials are at risk of arrest.”

Bishop Vincent appeals with a passion: “As a member of the UN Security Council, Vietnam must be held accountable for these abuses. We the Vietnamese Catholic Community in Australia ask the Australian government to intervene on our behalf and ensure that acts of state-sponsored terrorism be ceased in Thaiha and that human rights are upheld in Vietnam for all its citizens.”

The Vietnamese Catholic Community in Victoria will hold a Candlelight Vigil to pray for the Catholic Church in Vietnam in front of the Parliament House,
Saturday 19 Nov 2011 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

Hung Chau
Spokesperson, Australian Vietnamese Christian Association Inc
0411 806 848