June 2, 2022
His Excellency Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, President
His Excellency Phạm Minh Chính, Prime Minister
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are writing to express our utmost disappointment that your government has not only barred Pastor A Đảo from leaving Vietnam to attend the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit but also placed him under constant police surveillance. Such actions constitute intimidation and reprisal against individuals who report human rights violations to the international community.
On April 9, Pastor A Đảo was blocked from boarding the plane at Tan Son Nhat Airport – he had planned to go to Thailand and then fly to the U.S. from there. Airline employees explained that the Kon Tum Police Department had issued a request for the airport police to deny his right to travel abroad. The airport police seized his cell phone to examine his contacts and other online evidence, and issued a travel ban decision for him to sign, but he refused to sign it.
On April 10, he took a bus back to Kon Tum, but along the way it was stopped by Binh Phuoc Province police. They forced him to get off the bus and took him to the police station, where they questioned him about his planned travel to Thailand. That evening the Kon Tum police came to get him. Upon arrival in Kon tum, the police questioned him until the following morning, not allowing him to sleep. They interrogated him on three main issues:
Why he was still active in the Evangelical Church of Christ of the Central Highlands
Why he was still in contact with Pastor A Ga who lives in the US
What his real purpose is for traveling to Thailand
During interrogation sessions, the police repeatedly ordered him to leave the Evangelical Church of Christ or face re-imprisonment.
Congressman Glenn Grothman as well as the IRF Summit Co-chairs, former Ambassador Sam Brownback and former US Commission for International Religious Freedom Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos-Swett, have publicly raised concerns about the on-going mistreatment of and threats against Pastor A Đảo.
We call on your government to accord Pastor A Đảo the freedom to travel to the United States so as to attend the 2022 IRF Summit, to be held in Washington DC June 28 – 30. His presence or absence would speak volumes about the state of religious freedom in your country.