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 Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 15:26 GMT
Vietnam 'repressing minorities'
The human rights group, Human Rights Watch, says Vietnam has intensified repression of ethnic minorities in its Central Highlands region.

A statement by the American-based group says people are being interrogated, arrested, beaten and jailed simply because they are Christians or are suspected of supporting the popular movement for land rights and religious freedom.

The central highland region in Vietnam was the scene of widespread protests nearly two years ago, but Human Rights Watch said government action against members of the Montagnard Christian community was as harsh as ever.

The statement said the government action had forced more than 1,000 Montagnards to flee to neighbouring Cambodia.

The Vietnamese authorities have not yet reacted to the statement.

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