MONTAGNARDS OF VIETNAM; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 19
(Senate - February 02, 2016)

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[Page S485]
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                         MONTAGNARDS OF VIETNAM

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I want to take a moment today to recognize 
the Montagnard community in my State of North Carolina and in other 
places across the Nation. I am proud to say that North Carolina is home 
to the largest population of Montagnards in the Unites States and home 
to the largest population of Montagnards outside of Vietnam.
  Many Americans may not know about the history behind the United 
States's special relationship with the Montagnards, which is a history 
that goes back to the days of the Vietnam war. The Montagnards are an 
indigenous tribespeople of the central highlands of Vietnam, and during 
the Vietnam war, it was the Montagnards who were trained by the CIA and 
Special Operations Forces to fight alongside our troops against the 
North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.
  At their own great risk, the Montagnards provided critical 
intelligence support to our troops on the ground, no doubt saving 
countless American lives. After the war, the United States took in 
hundreds of Montagnards into our country as refugees because of the 
severe persecution they faced from the Vietnamese Government for that 
very reason. While this indeed is a long overdue recognition, I will be 
submitting later this week a Senate resolution recognizing their 
service and sacrifice.
  However, I believe our recognition of the Montagnards should not stop 
at what took place decades ago because even today, in 2016, the 
government of Vietnam continues to discriminate against them for the 
loyalty and assistance they provided to the United States some 40 years 
ago. The government of Vietnam continues to persist in its oppression 
of the Montagnards' basic human rights: the freedom to practice their 
Christian faith freely without fear of persecution and the right to 
education, land ownership, and a decent standard of living. This kind 
of persecution is well documented in the latest human rights and 
religious freedom reports published by the State Department and the 
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
  The United States of America has an obligation to stand up for the 
thousands of suffering Montagnards in Vietnam--some of whom were once 
our comrades-in-arms. I have heard from many Vietnam war veterans in my 
State who can tell you how much their military assistance and 
friendship had meant to them. We should not look the other way; we must 
continue pressing the Vietnamese Government to respect their 
fundamental human rights. With this Senate resolution, we send a loud 
and clear message to the Montagnard people: you are not forgotten.
  The United States can do better--we must do better--to support this 
marginalized tribespeople in Vietnam with whom we share a unique and 
historic bond.
  I would ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.
  Thank you.

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