FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Collective concern grows on Vietnam’s draft law on religion

VIETNAM – 26 November 2015

On 3 November 2015 a diverse collection of international, regional, and local organizations, both religious and secular, released a joint statement of concern regarding Vietnam’s draft law on religion prior to the law’s debate in the National Assembly.

Since the joint statement’s initial release, additional organizations, including ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Montagnard Human Rights Organization, Council of Indigenous Peoples in Today’s Vietnam, and many others, have joined the call for a serious overhaul of the draft law so that it aligns with freedom of religion or belief and Vietnam’s binding obligations under international law.

“Elected lawmakers from around the region stand with civil society in expressing our objection to this deeply problematic piece of legislation,” said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights Chairperson and Malaysian MP Charles Santiago. “Religious freedom is a fundamental right, and we are concerned that the current draft law would effectively give Vietnamese authorities a blank check to restrict this right, in clear violation of international norms.”

Religious communities, civil society, legal experts, and international organizations are concerned that the draft law aims at further tightening and codifying tight regulation and control of religion already in place in Vietnam.

“We hope for the day when the Vietnamese government embraces religious diversity as a strength and not something to be restricted or regulated,” said Santiago.

 

To learn more about Vietnam’s draft law on religion, please view DVOV’s English Language Resources page.