Freedom of religion of belief (FoRB) is an important issue across ASEAN. This page is a hub on Vietnamese engagement in past, present, and future regional activities, actions, and events related to freedom of religion or belief issues in Southeast Asia. On this page you may find helpful resources and information on how independent civil society and diverse religious communities inside Vietnam engage on  FoRB issues, especially at the ASEAN level.

UPCOMING EVENTS / ONGOING ACTIVITIES

Southeast Asia Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief II (SEA FoRB II) – Timor Leste

Boat People SOS and other organizations are busily planning the second Southeast Asia Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. More details will be coming very soon.

ACSC/APF 2016 – Timor Leste

This year’s ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) will take place 2-8 August 2016 in Timor Leste. FoRB will be one of the many issues discussed at this important event. More details on FoRB-specifics will come to DVOV very soon. For now, please visit our ACSC/APF Action Hub for the latest details, including the formation on a new independent national process for Vietnam led by VICSON.

FoRB Roundtables

Recently, some Southeast Asian countries have formed Roundtables as a strategy for promoting freedom of religion or belief. DVOV has set up a page where you can find out more on these efforts, especially the work of the Vietnam Freedom of Religion or Belief Roundtable. Recently, a joint statement was issued in support of Vietnam’s new roundtable. Endorsements included many ASEAN and international organizations.

Advocacy of Vietnam’s Draft Law on Religion

Independent civil society and religious communities inside Vietnam continue to work for religious freedom in Vietnam and on advocacy around Vietnam’s draft law on religion. DVOV has a full page of English language resources and information on this effort and a page of videos put together by the Vietnam Association to Protect Freedom of Religion.

PAST EVENTS / ACTIVITIES

Asia Pacific Religious Freedom Forum (APRFF)

The Asia Pacific Religious Freedom Forum (APRFF) took place 18-21 February 2016 in Taiwan.

APRFF-1

Conference organizers read the Taiwan Declaration at press conference

The Forum included a diverse mixture of government officials, NGOs, and religious leaders from around the region as well as international participants. Participants from Vietnam included representatives from the Vietnam Independent CSO Network (VICSON)–the Cao Dai Popular Bloc and the Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ (MECC). Those from Vietnam also included representatives from the Cham and the Khmer Krom communities, some of whom served as speakers on panel discussions.

APRFF-2

Cao Dai Popular Bloc and Khmer Krom representatives meet conference participants from Freedom House

The event also included organizations advocating for religious freedom inside Vietnam, such as Boat People SOS, based in the United States with a regional office in Thailand, and Vietnam Committee for Human Rights, based in France.

Reports & Conference Documents

DVOV Post-Conference Press Release – Taiwan Conference Calls for Greater Religious Freedom in Asia – 22 February 2016

The Taiwan Declaration

Position Papers and Reports shared by Vietnamese Participants from independent civil society organizations and faith-based communities

Video report on APRFF by Coalition for a Free and Democratic Vietnam (CFDV)

 

Southeast Asia Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief

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Boat People SOS, FORUM-ASIA, and the International Commission of Jurists co-organized this event which was held in Bangkok in late 2015. The event welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to Bangkok for 3 days of thoughtful dialogue and discussion with civil society organizations, religious community representatives, and other key stakeholders from the region. The event culminated in a Conference Declaration aiming at moving the regional FoRB movement forward and a press conference led by Dr. Bielefeldt held at the Foreign Correspondence Club Thailand (FCCT).

Reports & Conference Documents

Press Release – Faith-based and Other Groups Commit to Strengthen Freedom of Religion or Belief in Southeast Asia

Conference Declaration

Vietnam-focused video report on the conference by Coalition for a Free and Democratic Vietnam (CFDV)

Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt Press Conference Video – Foreign Correspondence Club Thailand (FCCT)

ACSC/APF 2015

The ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) is the largest annual civil society event in the ASEAN region. Held in Kuala Lumpur in April 2015, Boat People SOS co-organized several workshops covering freedom of religion issues, including one titled: “Underlying Reasons for Government Attacks on Religion: How to Destroy Civil Society from the Ground Up”. Workshop speakers included remote participation from Father Phan Van Loi, under house arrest, and Huynh Thuc Vy of Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR), currently barred from international travel.

Huynh Thuc Vy joins remotely as panel speaker

Huynh Thuc Vy joins remotely as panel speaker

For more details on ACSC/APF 2015 please visit our recap page.