Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Viet Nam’s religion policy less than forthcoming

The Pope met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last month in an attempt to improve relations between the two, but many problems still exist, according to ZENIT News Agency. The Vietnamese government’s policies indicate support for religious freedom, but in reality, some groups, notably Catholics, have not been afforded full rights. Viet Nam, the article claims, sees religion as a power to be “harnessed” rather than for the value the people place upon it. Indeed, Hanoi maintains control over all worship and religious institutions.

A recent government white paper released February 1, illustrates the fear of religion evident in Hanoi, stating, “Followers may not negatively impact national customs and tradition or community unity.” According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, forced renunciations still occur throughout the country at the hands of the government. They have also reported that many churches remain closed and new detentions are still occurring. Though policy may have opened the door to religious freedom, the situation on the ground is not indicative of this.

For the entire article, click here.


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