The Australian bishop of Vietnamese origin, Vincent Nguyễn Văn Long, condemned the destruction of 112 houses in the Lộc Hưng garden of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.
Amongst these houses, which were partially build by the church, are homes of people with low income, students and disabled war veterans and now were demolished without notification by local authorities, according to a report by the Australian news agency ucanews.
In a letter to the Australian department of foreign affairs, the Vatican, the Vietnamese embassy in Australia and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Vietnam, bishop Vincent Nguyễn Văn Long expressed his solidarity with the victims of the evictions in Lộc Hưng garden which he describes as “a pattern of behaviour on the part of the communist government in Vietnam ironically since the so-called ‘đổi mới’ (reform) era, as demonstrated in many incidents throughout the country.” Bishop Vincent Nguyễn Văn Long, currently also head of the Australian bishops’ Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, says that media reports by the Vietnamese government are wrong because they do not accord with testimonies of the victims. He adds that through the eviction, many people became homeless over night and have to rely on help by religious organisations.
Furthermore, bishop Vincent Nguyễn Văn Long also criticised that the eviction only serves the purposes of an interest group which wants to use the land for business and therefore ignores the life of the poor.
He calls for a halt of the illegal evictions and for an open and transparent dialogue with the people. Other political, social and religious organisations should also raise their voice.
Vincent Nguyễn Văn Long was born in 1961 in the province of Đồng Nai, Vietnam and fled the communist country in 1979. He was appointed bishop of Parramatta, Australia in 2016.
Images from the demolition of the homes in Lộc Hưng garden by the government of Ho Chi Minh City
Hiếu Bá Linh – VD-News