The Presbyterate
Nghi Dien, Nghi Loc, Nghe An, Vietnam
Phone: (0383) 861 171

No 05/2013 - TG

Xa Doai, September 16, 2013

Statement of The Presbyterate of Vinh Diocese

We - the Bishops and the Presbyterate of Vinh diocese, representing more than 526,000 Catholics who live and work in the three provinces namely Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh - have been monitoring and becoming concerned with the behavior and actions of Nghe An provincial authorities on recent human rights and religious issues, particularly the brutal suppression at My Yen parish. We hereby declare:

1. Our heartfelt communion and agreement with the views of our Bishop in the following documents: Notice No. 01/13 - TG, dated 09/05/2013 of the Bishop Office; Pastoral Letter from the Bishop dated 09/06/2013; Letter No. 02 / 13 - TG, dated 09/07/2013 of Xa Doai Bishop Office; Report No. 03/13 - TG, dated 09/10/2013 and Letter No. 04/13 - TG on 09/15/2013 of the Bishop Office, which condemned tyrannical suppression, defend the truth and human rights which have been persistently suppressed in Nghe An province in recent years.

2. The My Yen incident had been the result of a disturbance on the evening of 5/22/2013, at Trai Gao Catholic Parish caused by local plainclothes police who were preventing worshipers from attending Mass. This had caused discontent among the people and aroused their instinct to defend themselves, leading to uncontrollable outbursts of emotion and serious consequences! As every effect has a cause, the responsibility therefore lies on the " peace officers" and the supervising agency of those "officers".

3. The arbitrary arrests of Mr. Ngo Van Khoi and Mr. Nguyen Van Hai on Jun 27, 2013 were not only groundless but also contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Codes, unethical and contrary to the humane tradition of our national culture. These were the result of such covert action of public officials to cover up their misconducts and the cause of the people peaceful gathering at the Office of Nghi Phuong Commune People's Committee, which gave the authorities an excuse to use violence and hooligans to quell the crowds.

4. The bloody crackdown at My Yen parish on 09/04/2013 was an inhumane and unlawful act, skilfully staged and organized by Nghe An police. We condemn any acts of violence against innocent people! Their intrusion at the home of Mr. Nguyen Van Van to beat up and arrest people, damage properties was in violation of the right to" inviolability of place of residence" (Article 73, 1992 Constitution, amended 2001), the right to "physical inviolability" (Article 71, 1992 Constitution of Vietnam amended 2001), and the right to "ownership of lawful income, savings, housing, personal possessions, means of production" (Article 58, 1992 Constitution, amended 2001). In particular, the smashing of religious statues at residential altar was indeed a sacrilegious acts, seriously violating religious freedom (Article 70, 1992 Constitution of Vietnam in, amended 2001). All these actions went completely against the International Law on Human Rights (Articles 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 12, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 to which Vietnam signed commitment from the date of 9/20/1977 and Articles 9, 17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, 1966, effective in 1976 that Vietnam signed to pledge commitment since 9/24/1982 ). On the other hand, through this crackdown, Nghe An police had trampled on the national emblem of the country when denying the legal validity of the agreement of signed by the People's Committee of Phuong Nghi Commune to release detainees.

5. That the authorities utilized the media and Official Correspondence No 139/UBND-NC dated 09/08/2013 by Nghe An provincial People's Committee to suppress the truth, falsely accuse our Bishop, defame our priests, mislead public opinion was to add fuel to the fire and cause problems to the bilateral dialogues which has been painstakingly constructed between Vinh diocese and Nghe An authorities.

In summary, the brutal crackdown at My Yen parish was organized and commanded by the authorities themselves, therefore (the authorities) must be held fully accountable for this deed. The bishops, priests, faithful are only victims of the crackdown who are in need of protection.

We are in heartfelt communion with our Bishop in defending the truth, condemning tyrannical violence and protecting civilians. We are unceasingly demanding the authorities to shed light on the responsibilities of the officials and related agencies involved in the incident, and to release Mr. Ngo Van Khoi and Mr. Nguyen Van Hai.



Rev. John Nguyen Hong Phap, Secretary of the Council of Priests, Vinh Diocese
Rev. Peter Nguyen Van Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Council of Priests

Also signatures of
Auxiliary Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Vien
Emeritus Bishop Paul Maria Cao Dinh Thuyen
And 199 diocesan priests of Vinh Diocese.

(Translated by VietCatholic Network)