19 April 2016
The recently established Vietnam Freedom of Religion or Belief Roundtable(VFRoB) has just received resounding support from a diverse collection of NGOs and faith-based organizations. In a joint letter, with nearly 50 endorsements as of 19 April 2016, signatories sent a congratulatory message to the roundtable, and, in light of the upcoming visit to Vietnam by U.S. President Barack Obama, called upon the United States and Vietnamese government to give the roundtable its full support.
“This is such an exciting development for religious freedom in Vietnam”, says Dr. Thang D. Nugyen, CEO and President of Boat People SOS. Thang adds, “It is also a bold move. Many of Vietnam’s roundtable participants are from persecuted religious communities. It is especially important that they have international support.”
The roundtable, which includes a diverse array of unrecognized and persecuted religious communities, had their first meeting shortly after founders learned about the roundtable model at the Asia Pacific Religious Freedom Forum held in Taiwan on 18-21 February 2016.
Thus far, the roundtable has held five meetings, but, as a security precaution, the roundtable has met only online. However, the group aims to soon have their first meeting in person.
Roundtable co-founders and members of the Popular Bloc of the Cao Dai religion recently met with U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sapersterin and asked that he make a request to the U.S. Embassy to host a roundtable meeting. The hope is that the U.S. Embassy may be able to provide a safe space to meet in person.
The roundtable also hopes to meet with U.S. President Barak Obama on his state visit to Vietnam later this year.
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Democratic Voice of Vietnam is a resource center and hub for independent civil society in Vietnam. It is a space for ASEAN civil society organizations to connect with genuine civil society inside Vietnam to work on human rights issues inside Vietnam and across ASEAN.
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