In a troubling trend of renewed rights violation and state control over religious and culture institution, on December 30th, 2016 the local authority in Vietnam’s Travinh province took over portions of the Muniransi temple’s land and forced the temple to sign over the tract to a Vietnamese resident who had allegedly bought the temple’s land.
The Muniransi temple denies ever selling holy ground to Vietnamese residents and decries the move as a violation of religious and indigenous rights.
A video post on Facebook by a religious figure associated with the temple shows several local authority in official uniform handing over paper to be signed by the temple.
The narrated video explains that the government had come to force the sign over of the temple’s land by the head monk of the temple. A frustrated senior monk can be also be seen and heard decrying the unfair violation.
In the week following the force signed over, the temple and indigenous residents were harassed by the alleged new owner of the land. The video posted to Facebook shows the family cursing and denouncing at the temple while young monks and residents looked on.
Although it has become a less commonplace now, the story of new residents and authority together confiscating indigenous sacred land and farmland has been a shameful part of Vietnamese history and treatment of indigenous people such as the Khmer-Krom, Degar of Central Highlands, or the Christian Hmong groups.
Indigenous people of the world deserves to have their rights and land be respected. Water, and Earth, all things holy to them, must be allowed their rights to stewardship. When we stand together as a people to protect the vulnerable and indigenous culture, we are helping to promote the concept of human rights and preservation of diversity.
Call for Vietnam to stop religious rights violation of its indigenous community. Stand with the indigenous Khmer-Krom people.
Wat Muniransi temple is located in Vietnam’s southern Travinh province in Ap 4 hamlet, Cau Ke district. You can visit and explore the local culture and learn about Khmer-Krom’s form of Buddhism (Theravada). Vietnam’s Theravada form of Buddhism is originally only practiced and still predominately practiced by only the indigenous Khmer-Krom population today.