APPENDIX D: COMPLAINT FROM BUON DON DISTRICT VILLAGERS TO BUREAU OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS 506
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To: Bureau of Religious Affairs of Dak Lak Province
We wish to report the following:
On August 24, 2001, the police of Buon Don District together with village officials took photographs of the church and believers inside the church to send to the regional authorities. They stated that these people are followers of the Dega Protestant religion.
They pressure us to renounce our religion and sent irregular forces to search the homes of believers one by one. They follow us everywhere we go. They know the places where we pray and report them to their superiors. The authorities arrested five believers and forced them to do self-criticisms; they accuse we believers of the crime of illegal proselytization.
They organized a meeting for the following:
· Begin a campaign to encourage the people to renounce the Protestant religion
· The whole people must fight all kinds of violations of law.
On that day we were severely oppressed. They said that we wanted to overthrow the government through the propagation of the Protestant religion. They prepared sticks to beat us with if we opposed them.
They said in front of all the people that Protestants were thieves, they sowed divisions [among the people], lacked unity...
As a result our ability to pray and bear witness to our religion has become very difficult. We dare not hold meetings of any length to study the Bible, we can only do so for a few minutes.
At present the local authorities are keeping close watch on every activity, everything done by believers and church leaders.
Please pray for us and for God's work in this place.
[Names of Petitioners withheld]
506 Original Vietnamese language document, obtained by Human Rights Watch in September 2001, is on file at Human Rights Watch.