Nuns in wheelchairs seeking justice

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GNsP (24.07.2016) – A group of 20 nuns and laity from the Order of Saint Paul flocked to the headquarters of Hoan Kiem District Inspectorate (Hanoi) in the morning of July 22nd to petition against the disputed construction being carried out on Convent grounds at 5 Quang Trung, Hanoi.

Among the group seeking “fair settlement” of the dispute were elderly nuns sitting in wheelchairs, rosaries in their hands.

This image reminds one of another incident occurring in October 2015, when the authorities of District 2, Ho Chi Minh City were demolishing the property of the Lovers of the Holy Cross of Thu Thiem in order to start their New Urban Project.

At that time, the elderly sisters from the Lovers of the Holy Cross were also found in their wheelchairs joining hands with others to protect their land, in spite of their poor health.

History repeated itself on July 22. Nuns with cancer in wheelchairs joined hands with their sisters to give Hanoi authorities the petition for “immediate cessation of the construction” at No. 5 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem District.

In the meeting, inspectors from Hoan Kiem District Inspectorate stated that they had taken notice of the nuns’ opinions, but a video made at 10 am of the following day, July 23, showed workmen on the ground continuing the construction.

The sisters stated that they have sufficient proof of ownership of land, but somehow Hanoi authorities had granted a “Land Use Rights Certificate” to an individual named Huong Ly Tran.

At the time of this report, Ms. Ly was still hectically working “day and night” on the construction on the disputed land. In their petition to the Inspectorate, the nuns requested revoking the Land Use Rights Certificate and Construction Permit which had been granted to Ms Ly.

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The grounds at No. 5 Quang Trung was formerly the Novitiate of the Order, but in 1961 was “leased” to a state agency which had occupied and misappropriated it ever since. The land was later given by the state agency to its individual employees and each of them re-sold their land to other individuals.

The sisters were also asking everyone to join them in prayer and solidarity in the hope that the incident is justly resolved.”

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