Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


The main reason we demonstrated was to demand the land of the Jarai that the Vietnamese had occupied. We had asked peacefully for our land back for a long time. The pressure was increasing. We could not live in one group [with the Vietnamese]. There was increasing repression from the Vietnamese so we decided to demonstrate.

-Jarai man from Dao Doa district, Gia Lai, March 2001.

The February 2001 protests-involving thousands of people from dozens of villages in three provinces marching for miles to the provincial towns-were not spontaneous outbursts of peasant dissatisfaction. They appear to have been planned long in advance by a network of organizers who built popular support for a peaceful movement to demand minority lands back from Vietnamese control. The government's security forces apparently became aware of the movement as much as six months before the protests, when they began to call in suspected members for questioning.

The Run-up to the Protests

By the late 1990s, the Central Highlands region was a powder keg ready to explode. Longstanding Montagnard grievances over land and unmet political aspirations dating back to the first and second Indochina wars were fueled by increasing repression of Protestant churches and confiscation and encroachment on Montagnard lands by new settlers. Tensions increased in January 2001 with reports that as many as 100,000 more people, mostly ethnic minorities from the North, could be resettled in Gia Lai and Dak Lak to make way for the Son La hydropower project. Endemic poverty in the region was worsened by the plummet in the price of coffee, which had made up much of the economic base of the highlands.

In early 2000, members of the Montagnard Foundation, Inc. (MFI), an indigenous rights organization based in the U.S. state of South Carolina led by Jarai-American Kok Ksor, began to recruit supporters in the Central Highlands to spread the word about a movement to gain independence. They found a receptive audience in many parts of the highlands.

Former FULRO members who had resettled as refugees in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s returned to their home villages as tourists, quietly spreading the word about MFI and Kok Ksor.228 Other MFI members in the U.S. contacted a growing network in the highlands through telephone calls, faxes, and smuggled letters and tape cassettes.

"I'd known Kok Ksor since 1978, but he was in the U.S. and I was in the forest," said one former FULRO member who was recruited in Ia Grai district of Gia Lai in early 2000. "We had renewed relations with him since 2000."229 Starting in the Pleiku area with a meeting in March 2000, a local network was set up, which then extended to Chu Se and Cheo Reo, and on to Ea H'leo in northern Dak Lak. Further south, organizers living in hamlets near Buon Ma Thuot began to spread the word to outlying districts such as Ban Don, Dak Mil and Ea Sup, and further south to Lam Dong province. Meanwhile the Pleiku activists began to quietly recruit supporters in neighboring Kontum, to the north.

In Chu Se district, Gia Lai, villagers said they became aware about the movement for independence-or as they put it, "the struggle to get our lands back" -in early 2000 when local organizers and church leaders began to talk about it.

"I heard about it in church," said one villager from Chu Se district. "Ama X told us we have a new leader, named Kok Ksor, the leader of us all. "According to Ama X, we would ask for approval to ask for our land back. Many people in the village supported that idea."230

By mid-2000, meetings had been held in dozens of villages, and an informal network had been established for communication-both within the highlands and with supporters abroad. In some areas leaders were appointed and loose-knit district, commune and village organizations established. Organizers began to go village by village to disseminate information about the movement, which consisted of three main points: 1) Kok Ksor was the Dega president and had supposedly received international support to lead the new country; 2) the Montagnards living in "Dega land" should ask that their country, currently under the "oppressive yoke of the Vietnamese," be returned to them; and 3) the struggle would be peaceful and eschew violence, which would diminish respect for the cause.231

In some areas organizers distributed copies of Ede-language documents on Montagnard history, the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and audio cassette recordings of Kok Ksor.232

In August 2000, in what may have been an unplanned, impromptu clash, several government officials and policemen were reportedly injured during a confrontation over land between Ede and Vietnamese migrants in Ea H'leo district of Dak Lak. That conflict, which appears to have been small and short lived, received little press coverage and did not spread beyond Ea H'leo.233 At about the same time, movement organizers commenced activities in Ea H'leo.

Contacts were made with supportive church leaders in Lam Dong province in August 2000 as well.234 In September and October, organizers from Chu Se district of Gia Lai began contacting villages in neighboring Cheo Reo district, further to the east.235 Plans were soon underway to conduct a peaceful mass demonstration, with target dates set for September or December 2000.

Government Surveillance

Months before the February 2001 protests it appears that Vietnamese government authorities had been able to obtain intelligence about the movement, most likely through intercepted faxes and telephone calls, as well as possible infiltration of the group. Beginning in August 2000, local police began to summon dozens of the suspected members to police stations for interrogation. In early October, more than twenty-seven MFI members from many districts in Gia Lai were summoned for questioning by police in Pleiku.236

One member from Gia Lai, a former FULRO member, said he was called in thirty times by police during 2000 and early 2001. Each time he was detained for two or three hours, or a half a day. "The high-ranking police officer would interrogate me, ask me what we were doing. They didn't beat me but they threatened to kill me," he said.237

A supporter in Kontum told Human Rights Watch that he was issued a written warrant by the police in August 2000. He was summoned again on January 31, 2001, right before the protests in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot, and again in late February. The police citations he received referred to both his belief in Christianity and his political work.238

In Dak Lak, police called organizers from several districts for questioning numerous times, as described by a Montagnard from Dak Lak:

The government was following me. They started summoning me to the province in December [2000], when I was called four times, and then twice in January. Each time they would ask me why I was an opponent of the government. I told them straight that we wanted our own country. I was honest. They said if you do this, it's not real, it's a trick [of Kok Ksor]. I responded that it was not a trick-we were all standing up to oppose the Vietnamese government in order to have our own government for the ethnic minorities. The police were angry. They threatened and intimidated me but didn't beat me.239

The police surveillance caused the organizers to postpone plans for a late-2000 demonstration for the time being.

At the end of the year, monitoring of suspected organizers increased. On December 16, 2000, three people-an Ede, a Koho from Lam Dong, and a Hmong who was visiting from the north-were arrested in another organizer's home in Dak Lak. An eyewitness told Human Rights Watch that at 12:00 a.m. forty provincial police in two large army trucks arrested the three men, who were kept at the district for one night, where they were beaten and kicked during interrogation. They were then sent to the provincial police station for five days and nights before being released.240

On December 19, 2000, police summoned ten people in Lam Dong province for interrogation. They were released that night but police were subsequently posted in the home of at least one of the leaders, who was required to obtain written permission in order to leave his village. "From December when they arrested me the police were guarding throughout the province and not allowing us to organize," said the man. Shortly afterwards telephone service from Lam Dong to other provinces was terminated.241

The January 2001 Crackdown

In early January 2001 Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and VCP Secretary General Le Kha Phieu both made strong statements attacking "hostile forces" who they alleged were attempting to destabilize the country and sabotage the regime by taking advantage of "hot spots" and "complicated issues such as religious and ethnic issues to cause disturbances." They did not give any details.242

Afterwards, police increased the surveillance, interrogation and detention of highlanders suspected of supporting the independence movement. On January 8, 2001, a Mnong couple from a hamlet near Buon Ma Thuot, who were key MFI organizers, were arrested. The wife was interrogated and detained for four nights at the district jail, and the husband was held at the provincial police station for five nights.243 Then, on January 12, 2001, district police in Ea H'leo arrested another local leader, Siu Un, in Blec village. As a result, 300 people demonstrated in Ea H'leo district town two days later. That protest, which did not receive any press coverage at the time, apparently did not involve any violence by the protesters or police, who released Siu Un the same day. 244

Meanwhile, in Lam Dong the local Montagnard leader who was already under modified house arrest was pressured to renounce his alleged wrongdoings in front of his whole village on January 15:

I didn't sign the documents that the police wanted me to sign. They were very angry. The police asked me if I wanted to live or die and did I want to go to jail. I didn't agree to any of their demands.245

The February 2001 Demonstrations

While much of the impetus for the demonstrations may have come from abroad, it is clear that by early 2001, the pressures that had built up in the Central Highlands-over land, livelihoods, and religious freedom-had become intense. Even without external support and encouragement from outside, the situation had become explosive, with conflicts over religious practices and land occurring in many parts of the highlands on a daily basis.

February 2: Pleiku

On January 29, 2001 Rahlan Pon and Rahlan Djan, two highlanders from Cu Prong district in Gia Lai were arrested. In an official statement released on February 8, the Vietnamese government said that the two men had violated the law by "instigating some ethnic tribes to use violence against the local governments and national unity."246

Word about the arrests quickly spread through Montagnard networks in Gia Lai, where organizers decided to seize the opportunity to launch a public demonstration to call not only for the release of the two men but also for an independent state and greater religious freedom. On January 31, 2001, approximately 500 villagers marched to the district center in Cu Prong to demand the release of the two men, while plans were made to conduct larger demonstrations in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot.247

The demonstration in Pleiku was planned for February 2. It was clear that the Vietnamese intelligence service was aware of the plans beforehand. On February 1, police surrounded the homes of MFI organizers in Gia Lai, including Bom Jena and Ksor Kroih.248 That morning troops were deployed to surround many villages near Pleiku and put up roadblocks on the roads leading to the provincial town. At 4:00 p.m. that day telephone lines were cut in Pleiku. Despite these obstacles, a number of activists were able to get word to dozens of villages the night of February 1, urging them to demonstrate in Pleiku the next day.

On Friday, February 2, thousands of highlanders from dozens of villages marched towards the provincial town, where they filled the streets in front of the provincial offices of the VCP and the People's Committee.

Eight hundred people from four communes in Mang Yang and Chu Pah districts gathered before dawn on February 2 to march together to Pleiku, as described by one Jarai eyewitness:

We left home at 4:00 a.m., walking for twenty kilometers. We got to the provincial [People's Committee] hall in Pleiku at 8:30 a.m. Along the road there were many police, who had put up roadblocks. The city streets were filled with barbed wire barricades and four fire trucks were parked in front of the gate to the provincial compound, prepared to use force against the people. The people fought with the police and tried to climb the barricades.

At the second intersection near the provincial hall, many people were wounded. As the people approached, the police used lengths of barbed wire to hit the people, and also hit them with wooden batons and electric prods, causing many to be injured. The fighting happened at the barricades and again near the provincial hall. The police started the fighting and at first the people didn't fight back. We wanted to speak to the provincial governor. Then more people gathered.

By 10:00 or 10:30 a.m. there were thousands of people at the provincial hall, and the police began to beat people. That's when the people fought back. It was essentially a riot. The Vietnamese police ran off; only Jarai police were left to fight with the people. Around 11:00 or 12:00 p.m., the provincial leaders came out to hear the concerns of the people. They met with several of us, with government photographers crowding around to take our pictures. We presented the proposal for the independent state and religious freedom. We asked why they had arrested the two highlanders, and asked for their release.249

In the plaza in front of the Pleiku People's Committee office, several highlander leaders spoke over hand-held microphones and bullhorns, outlining the demands for independence and religious freedom. As the crowd swelled, a number of government officials came out of the building to address the crowd. According to Voice of Vietnam radio, the officials explained government policy in regard to land and listed their "achievements in consolidating the national unity bloc and boosting socioeconomic development in not only the province but also the entire Central Highlands regions."250

After signing affidavits admitting their wrongdoings, Rahlan Pon and Rahlan Djan were released during the demonstration; as of late February 2002, they were thought to be back in their village.

A businessman in Pleiku described the demonstrations in a telephone interview with Agence France-Presse: "On Friday and again throughout the weekend, lines of protesters stretching as far as the eye could see marched along the roads leading into Pleiku...The mood of the demonstration was strikingly peaceful." He added that some of his staff had even asked for time off work to take part.251

Highlanders from some districts farther from the provincial town were unable to make it all the way to Pleiku in time for the demonstration. A Jarai from Chu Se district (thirty kilometers from Pleiku), marched with a thousand people from his district. The group turned back midway to Pleiku when they realized the demonstration had dispersed:

There were police all along the road. They asked why we were there. We said because two people had been arrested and also because of the land [problems]. They tried to stop the people from going to the demonstration but the people didn't listen and continued on. We were halfway to Pleiku when we saw people on bicycles returning from the demonstration. They told us that the demonstration had happened and that the two people had been released and the authorities promised to solve our problem. At 4:00 p.m. we heard the news and turned back.252

February 3: Buon Ma Thuot

Security forces were well prepared for the February 3 demonstration in Buon Ma Thuot. On February 2, as protesters were marching on Pleiku, Dak Lak authorities summoned several prominent Protestant pastors in Buon Ma Thuot to "help solve a problem" because of their influence with the population.253 That night, police officers surrounded the homes of key MFI organizers in a hamlet near Dak Lak, escorting them to the district police station the next morning as a warning for others not to join the protests.254

Activists in Ea H'leo district of Dak Lak, which is approximately halfway between Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot, received word on February 2 about the demonstrations that had taken place that day in Pleiku. At midnight, a group of 200 villagers from Ea H'leo town started off on Highway 14 for Buon Ma Thuot, some forty kilometers away. Some walked, others rode bicycles, motorcycles or motorized carts pulled by farm tractors. A member of that group described the scene to Human Rights Watch:

The police cut the cables on the tractor-pulled trailers that many people were riding-otherwise there would have been more people. People got off and walked even without the trailers. When we got to Buon Ho, which is halfway to Buon Ma Thuot, many trailers were cut so people walked. The police hit and scuffled with the people but not seriously. At 9:00 a.m. we got to Buon Ma Thuot. Out of three thousand people [from Ea H'leo], only 500 were able to enter the town. Near the provincial town, in Dak Li commune, the police had erected barricades. The people climbed over them, tore them down, and continued. The police beat one person badly there and kept many from going on.255

Another participant, traveling from Buon Kdun, a hamlet four kilometers southwest of Buon Ma Thuot, gave this description:

The police blocked the road, but we pushed over the barricades. There were six places where there were barricades. The police pointed their guns at us and threw tear gas. We shouted that we want our Dega land back, and we want independence. We were carrying signs. When we entered town they fired water cannons at us. I took a stone and threw it at the water truck. Near the town center they had special police with helmets, plastic shields and electric batons. They threw tear gas. We had documents to give to the authorities, who told us to go home, wait fifteen days, and they would solve the problem.256

Despite these impediments, several thousand people, from at least half a dozen districts, were able to make it to the town center of Buon Ma Thuot. A prominent Ede pastor, one of the Montagnard church leaders who had been called in by provincial authorities the night before, spoke to the crowd over a bullhorn, urging the demonstrators to disperse. An eyewitness described the scene:

At the protest the Vietnamese took Pastor [name withheld] to come up to talk to the demonstrators and tell us to stop. He tried to use the police microphone but we told him to use ours. He told us not to protest and said he had not been arrested. But the people didn't believe him. We trust him but think he was coerced.257

As in Pleiku, a group of protesters was able to meet briefly with local officials and hand over documents requesting a solution to highlander land and religion problems and an independent state.258

The Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C. acknowledged in a public statement on February 8 that social unrest continued from February 3-6 in Buon Ma Thuot and other parts of Dak Lak:

Although small, [the incidents] affected security and social order, caused traffic congestion and hindered children going to school. Most of the petitioners were minority people misled about the situation in Pleiku and incited by extremists. Several extremists took the oppor-tunity to destabilize security and social order and attack those who were on duty. They damaged administration offices at hamlet, commune and district levels, causing property losses and destabilizing social order.259

Clashes Between Police and Protesters

Some press accounts reported that police clashed with protesters and that not only demonstrators, but also some police officers were injured.260 Highlanders who attended the protests told Human Rights Watch that their intent was to conduct peaceful demonstrations, although some admitted they fought with police. A protester from a hamlet near Buon Ma Thuot said that people from his village attacked six police cars and some people threw stones:

Along the road the police tried to stop people from coming by hosing them down with water and beating them with batons. The police fired tear gas and water cannons. The people got angry and fought back. In the beginning it was the police who were beating. Protesters who came later in the day from Gia Lai and Ea H'leo were fighting.261

Film footage on state television in Vietnam showed glimpses of protesters in Buon Ma Thuot using slingshots and featured an interview with one protester who confessed he had destroyed vehicles of the city's security forces. Had the protesters used serious violence or weapons, or caused serious injury to police or officials, the television coverage-carefully produced and edited for national broadcast more than a month later-would likely have shown this.262

For the most part the protests in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot appear to have been peaceful. A Hanoi-based diplomat with long experience in Vietnam commented that it was surprising that not more people were hurt by being crushed or trampled in the crowd, considering the sheer numbers that gathered in the provincial towns.263

At 3:00 p.m. on February 3, three army tanks were sent into Buon Ma Thuot. After receiving pledges from the authorities that their complaints would be addressed, the crowds eventually dispersed.

February 5-6: Ea H'leo

Two days after the demonstrations in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot, several smaller protests were held in Ea H'leo district in Dak Lak after a number of local Jarai leaders in Ea H'leo received summonses to report to the police station. On February 5, approximately one thousand people gathered at the district police station and People's Committee headquarters.264 There are conflicting accounts about this demonstration. Foreign reporters, who were not on the scene but filed wire services reports based on telephone interviews with witnesses, reported clashes between police and demonstrators. According to these accounts, some protesters seized truncheons from the police and waved them in the air; they also reportedly stripped and tied up one of the policemen until security forces regained control.265

The official Viet Nam News Agency stated in an account of the events at Ea H'leo that "many provocateurs damaged administrative offices and public property, opposed law enforcement forces, and undermined political and social order in the locality for several days. The provocative acts were organized as part of a scheme of `peaceful evolution' and subversion by hostile and reactionary forces."266 State media alleged that two Jarai from Ea H'leo, Nay D'Ruc and Y Phen Ksor "raided local State offices, opposed State employees and destroyed public property."267

Jarai present at the protests in Ea H'leo, however, told a different story. They said that on the orders of the deputy chief, police officers beat the demonstrators and ordered ethnic Vietnamese civilians, who carried knives, machetes, and hoes, to also attack the crowd.268 About thirty demonstrators were injured, they said.

On February 6, approximately 2000 people gathered in Ea Hral commune of Ea H'leo.269 Jarai informants said that during that demonstration, the police and local Vietnamese "did not dare" beat the protesters. A local official in Ea H'leo told Reuters that protesters attacked the post office on February 6 but that police and military units had restored order there.270

February 14: Kontum

Western wire services carried additional reports of demonstrations in Ea Sup district of Dak Lak, Cu Prong district of Gia Lai, and Kontum provincial town during the ten days following the main protests in Gia Lai and Buon Ma Thuot.271

Despite the crackdown in Gia Lai and Dak Lak after the demonstrations, MFI organizers were able to conduct a sizable protest in Kontum on February 14. This received little press coverage, other than a brief mention in the state People's Police newspaper, which was picked up by Reuters.272 Eyewitnesses told Human Rights Watch that 3,000 to 4,000 people participated in a one-day demonstration in Kontum on February 14, which lasted from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. There was some scuffling between protesters and police, who used water cannons and electric batons on the crowd.273

Coerced or Willing Participants?

While exact numbers of demonstrators at the main protests in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot are difficult to determine, it is clear that the total, certainly in Pleiku, was in the thousands. Highlanders who attended the demonstrations said that thousands participated, but they may have been referring not only to the protesters who reached the provincial towns but those who tried to attend but were blocked by police along the way, or who arrived too late. Government officials interviewed by Western wire service reporters put the numbers at 4,000 highlanders in Pleiku and several hundred in Buon Ma Thuot. Shopkeepers and local residents interviewed by telephone shortly after the demonstration estimated the numbers in Pleiku at 4,000 and in Buon Ma Thuot at 2,000.274  

The Voice of Vietnam radio attributed the protests in Pleiku to "misleading comments and a lack of information concerning the arrest of two locals on 29 January." Other sources, such as the state newspaper Lao Dong (Labor), stated that people had been promised the cost of bus tickets as an incentive to attend the demonstrations; other government newspapers alleged that demonstrators were paid the equivalent of U.S. $5 to join the protests.275

In Buon Ma Thuot, the state press reported that some participants joined the demonstrations because they were under the impression that several minority pastors-including one who later addressed the crowd over the bullhorn at the government's request-had been arrested. The Army Daily quoted an Ede man from Buon Cuor Knia as saying:

On the morning of 3 February, while preparing to go to work, some people told us that we must go to Buon Ma Thuot to demand the local authorities to release a priest. When we followed them over there, we found out that they lied and cheated us. No priest had been arrested. They told us to demand the establishment of "The Autonomous Government of Dega." If we had known this, we would not have come. We are religious followers....We do not want bad people exploiting religion to harm our people and country. We all see that our government always tries to provide our people with a prosperous life.276

The Army Daily quoted another ethnic minority man with a similar story:

On my return from the market, I was asked to join other people in demanding for the release of Priest [name withheld]. I did not know the priest but I followed other people anyway. We found out in Buon Ma Thuot that no priest had been arrested. Some people just cooked up the story to cheat the local religious followers. Then, my friends and I returned home. We are regretful and ashamed...277

228 Kok Ksor was born in 1944 in Bon Broai village in the present-day province of Gia Lai, Vietnam. According to a self-published biographical statement, Kok Ksor joined the Bajaraka movement in 1958 and FULRO in 1964, when he went to Mondolkiri with Y Bham Enuol. In addition to serving as FULRO representative for the Pleiku-Cheo Reo area, Ksor served with U.S. military units of the Fourth Infantry Division in Pleiku and the Fifth Special Forces group. In 1974, according to Ksor, he was appointed by Y Bham Enuol as his chief of staff. Between 1971 and 1974 Ksor was sent on three occasions by Cambodian Prime Minister Lon Nol to U.S. Intelligence Officers School in Okinawa and to Transportation Officer Training in the United States. Ksor was in the United States when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia and executed Y Bham Enuol and other FULRO leaders in Phnom Penh. A naturalized U.S. citizen, he now lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Since 1993 Ksor has advocated on behalf of Montagnard people at various international gatherings, including the U.N. Workshop for Indigenous People in Geneva and the Second Summit Meeting for Indigenous Peoples in Oaxtepec, Mexico. See: Kok Ksor, "Narrative Biography of Ksor Kok," July 19, 1993.

229 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Gia Lai, March 2001.

230 Ama "X"'s name has been changed to protect his security. Human Rights Watch interview with a Jarai man from Chu Se district, Gia Lai, June 27, 2001.

231 Handwritten Vietnamese-language document outlining the activities of MFI in Gia Lai, dated March 12, 2001. Document and translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

232 Vietnamese-language handwritten document outlining the activities of MFI in Ea H'leo, dated March 12, 2001. Document and translation on file at Human Rights Watch.

233 Reuters, "Vietnam district stable after ethnic clash," August 17, 2000. Radio Free Asia, "Ethnic minority attack on Vietnamese settlers in Central Highlands," August 15, 2000.

234 Human Rights Watch interview with Montagnard from Lam Dong, October 30, 2001.

235 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Cheo Reo, Gia Lai, March 2001.

236 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Gia Lai, March 2001.

237 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Gia Lai, March 2001.

238 Human Rights Watch interview with Montagnard from Kontum, October 11, 2001.

239 Human Rights Watch interview with Montagnard from Dak Lak, October 30, 2001.

240 Human Rights Watch interview, April 22, 2001.

241 Human Rights Watch interview with Montagnards from Lam Dong, , October 30, 2001.

242 Reuters, "Vietnam party chief warns of subversion attempts," January 4, 2001; Reuters, "Vietnam PM sees threats in religion, rights issues," January 5, 2001.

243 Human Rights Watch interview with Mnong man from Dak Lak, July 16, 2001.

244 Human Rights Watch interviews with Jarai men from Ea H'leo, March and June 2001.

245 Human Rights Watch interview with Montagnard from Lam Dong, October 30, 2001.

246 Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United States, "Two Fact Sheets on religious freedom in Vietnam," February 9, 2001. In a press interview in March 2001, Nay Lan, deputy director of the Gia Lai People's Committee, stated that Rahlan Pon and Rahlan Djan had "violated Vietnam's regulations on border areas." Deutsche Presse-Agentur, "Unrest questions unanswered in Vietnam highlands," March 16, 2001.

247 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai men from Gia Lai, March 2001.

248 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Gia Lai, March 2001.

249 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Gia Lai, March 2001.

250 "Vietnam radio reports `unrest' in Gia Lai, Dak Lak provinces," Voice of Vietnam radio, Hanoi, in Vietnamese 23:00 gmt 8 Feb 01, BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political, February 9, 2001.

251 Steve Kirby, "Huge protests as ethnic unrest sweeps Vietnam's central highlands," February 7, 2001.

252 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai men from Chu Se, Gia Lai, March 2001.

253 Vietnam Observer, "Opportunity and Danger: Prospects for Vietnam's Protestants in 2001," March 26, 2001.

254 Human Rights Watch interview with Ede man from a hamlet near Buon Ma Thuot, July 16, 2001.

255 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Ea H'leo, Gia Lai, March 2001.

256 Human Rights Watch interview with Ede man from Buon Kdun, Dak Lak, July 13, 2001.

257 Human Rights Watch Interview with Ede woman from Dak Lak, April 22, 2001.

258 Human Rights Watch interview with Ede man from Dak Lak, July 13, 2001.

259 Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United States, "Security returns to normal in Central Highlands," February 8, 2001.

260 An account in the French-language newspaper Libération, based on interviews with ethnic Vietnamese in Ratanakiri province, described hundreds of highlanders slipping quietly into Pleiku the night before the February 2 demonstration, "armed with sticks, daggers and shovels." No other accounts by eyewitnesses interviewed by journalists or Human Rights Watch confirmed that highlanders carrying sticks, knives or shovels arrived in Pleiku the night before the demonstrations, although on the day of the protests some did have slingshots. Arnaud Dubus, "La révolte des Montagnards au Viet-nam," Libération, April 11, 2001.

261 Human Rights Watch interview with Ede man from Buon Ma Thuot, April 22, 2001.

262 Videotape of Vietnam Television coverage of the demonstrations in Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot, March 27-28, 2001; on file at Human Rights Watch along with a translation of the transcript.

263 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Hanoi-based Western diplomat, May 31, 2001.

264 Human Rights Watch interview with Ea H'leo resident, March 2001.

265 Deutsche Presse-Agentur, "Unrest questions unanswered in Vietnam highlands," March 16, 2001. David Thurber, "Vietnamese officials prevent journalists' access to protesters," Associated Press, March 16, 2001.

266 Viet Nam News Agency, "Seven Sentences for Security Destablisers in Central Highlands Province," September 26, 2001.

267 Viet Nam News Service (VNS), "Stiff jail terms mandated for saboteurs of public security," September 28, 2001.

268 Cambodia Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, interviews with asylum seekers from Ea H'leo, May 24, 2001. Human Rights Watch interview with Ea H'leo resident, March 2001.

269 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai man from Ea H'leo, March 2000.

270 David Brunnstrom, "Military patrols Vietnam highlands after protests," Reuters, February 8, 2001.

271 Steve Kirby, Agence France-Presse, "Huge protests as ethnic unrest sweeps Vietnam's Central Highlands, February 7, 2001. David Brunnstrom, "Vietnam coffee belt reported calm after unrest," Reuters February 11, 2001.

272 David Brunnstrom, "Officials differ over religion in Vietnam unrest," Reuters, March 16, 2001.

273 Human Rights Watch interview with Jarai and Bahnar men from Kontum, October 11, 2001.

274 See David Brunnstrom "Officials differ over religion in Vietnam unrest," Reuters, March 16 2001. David Thurber, "Vietnamese officials prevent journalists' access to protesters," Associated Press, March 16, 2001. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, "Vietnam blames war-era exiles for preaching bad religion," March 15, 2001.

275 Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper, March 23, 2001, cited in UNHCR Centre for Documentation and Research, "Vietnam: Indigenous Minority Groups in the Central Highlands," Writenet Paper No. 05/2001, January 2002.

276 "Vietnam: Army daily cites U.S.'s `active support' of ethnic unrest in highlands," Quan Doi Nhan Dan (Army Daily), Hanoi, in Vietnamese, March 16, 2001, translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, March 29, 2001.

277 Ibid.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page