NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) — The Human Rights Watch in New York said Saturday the Vietnamese government should release a group of imprisoned Roman Catholics.
Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Elaine Pearson alleged in a news release that the Catholic prisoners were specifically targeted for their religious beliefs.
She accused the Vietnamese government of targeting peaceful prayer vigils in cities such as Hanoi and arresting at least 20 people during an Aug. 28 event.
Similar events allegedly were disrupted by tear gas attacks by authorities or large groups of men who harassed Catholic parishioners and priests, Pearson added.
“This is the harshest crackdown on Catholics in Vietnam in decades,” Pearson alleged. “Sadly, religious repression and violent crackdowns by the Vietnamese authorities against peaceful protesters are nothing new.”
“The government should support religious tolerance and peaceful assembly instead of using the media to vilify religious leaders and paint peaceful religious protesters as a menace to the public.”