Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the story of the expropriation of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. The operation took place in January 2019 and saw the forcible eviction of thousands of residents and the destruction of over 500 homes. Today, nearly two years later the residents of Loc Hung continue to await justice.
Last week we heard from a 13-year-old resident of the garden who faced harassment at school. This week we are talking to Tran Minh-Thi, a local music teacher, who shares about her own experiences and reflects on the broader situation for children from the garden.
What is your connection with the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden case?
I was born and grew up in the vegetable garden and have lived here for over 40 years. My paternal grandparents migrated south to live and farm on the land. They passed it down to my parents, and myself and all my siblings all worked on the land as well until January 2019, when the demolition happened. My nieces and nephews also live and work on this land, so it has been in my family for four generations now. There are a lot of us – more than 70 in total – my grandparents had five children and my parents had 11, so with extended family it’s almost like one hundred.
Continue reading “The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 3: “We just want to find a solution”” →
Last week we published the first instalment in our series looking at the story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Vietnam, in which we interviewed Cao Ha Truc about his experiences. For the second instalment we spoke to a child from the community who told us about his experiences of harassment at his school.
How old are you?
I am 13 years old.
Continue reading “The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 2: “Even though I was scared, I didn’t comply”” →
In January 2019 Vietnamese authorities carried out a massive operation in the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, which saw the forcible eviction of thousands of residents and the destruction of over 500 homes. Today, nearly two years later the residents of Loc Hung continue to await justice.
Over the next few weeks, CSW will be telling the story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden through a series of interviews with those who lived there. For our first instalment, we spoke to Cao Ha Truc, one of those leading efforts for the residents to receive some form of compensation.
How long have you lived in the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden and how did you come to live there?
My family have lived here for four generations, ever since my grandparents and parents heeded the call from President Ngo Dinh Diem to migrate from the north to the south after the Geneva Accords of 1954. I was born here and so were my children. I farmed on the land here from the day I got married until the day it was taken from my family.
Initially my family made a living from farming vegetables in the garden, but as we grew in size we needed to expand our living space so we built more houses on the land – some to live in and a few more to rent out to subsidise the income from the vegetable garden.
Continue reading “The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 1: “Their whole world collapsed around them”” →
Nguyen Van Dai is a Vietnamese human rights lawyer who has provided legal advice and representation to victims of human rights abuses, including victims of violations of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), across Vietnam. His work has led to him being repeatedly harassed and attacked by individuals working for the authorities.
Dai spent four years in prison from May 2007 to March 2011, followed by a further four years under house arrest. In December 2015, just months after Dai had completed his house arrest sentence, he and his colleague were taken into police custody once again as he was preparing to meet European Union representatives who were in Hanoi for the annual EU-Vietnam human rights dialogue.
Dai subsequently spent a further two and a half years in prison before being released to exile Germany in June 2018. Last year he visited the UK and told CSW his story in his own words. Watch the video below:
Continue reading “VIDEO: FoRB on the Frontlines in Vietnam, an interview with Nguyen Van Dai” →
“What do you think is religious freedom?”
That’s the question posed in a video by the Association to Protect Freedom of Religion (APFOR), a Vietnamese organisation which aims to help “everyone in Vietnam fulfil their right to freedom of religion”.
By Hội Bảo Vệ Quyền Tự Do Tôn Giáo – What do you think is religious freedom
“A fundamental human right,” says one young interviewee.
“People have the right to express their beliefs and live according to certain religious doctrines,” comments another, this time a mechanic.
“True freedom of religion means different religions can be spread,” adds a construction worker.
The video goes on to include comments from independent researchers, legal professionals and religious followers, ending with an invitation to the viewer to share her or his own thoughts on Facebook.
APFOR have since produced another video, equally well-made and insightful, this time looking at a new draft law on religion and belief which is likely to be passed in Vietnam in 2016.
By Hội Bảo Vệ Quyền Tự Do Tôn Giáo – The right to religion, have to wait for approval?
Vietnam’s controversial draft Law on Belief and Religion
This second video was posted on Facebook in November 2015, just as the draft law was being debated at the National Assembly. It’s already proving to be a controversial issue. In a welcome move towards some degree of engagement, the government solicited feedback on the fourth draft of the law from religious organisations in spring 2015. The Government Religious Committee held several meetings with registered religious groups to discuss the law, and unregistered or independent groups have also publicised their analysis of the draft law, as have Vietnamese lawyers and international civil society organisations.
Continue reading “Vietnam: Social Media as a Catalyst For Change” →