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ICC Note:

ICC has lists of more than 50 Christian church leaders and pastors currently imprisoned on the basis of their religious activity or identity, some service sentences of more than a decade. Isaac Six, ICC’s Advocacy Director, said,: “Vietnam continues to repress religious minorities on a considerable scale and ICC supports Chairman Royce’s legislation (H. Res 218) to re-designate Vietnam a country of particular concern.”

07/31/2014 Vietnam (AP)– A U.N. official who went to Vietnam to assess religious freedom in this Southeast Asian country said Thursday that security agents closely monitored his visit and people he wanted to meet were harassed and intimidated.

Heiner Bielefeldt, the U.N. special rapporteur, told journalists he concluded that serious violations of religious freedom existed, while noting some improvements.

Planned visits to three provinces were interrupted, Bielefeldt said. “I received credible information that some individuals whom I wanted to meet with had been either under heavy surveillance, warned, intimidated, harassed or prevented from travelling by the police,” he said.

“I was closely monitored of my whereabouts by undeclared “security and police agents” while the privacy and confidentiality of some meetings could have been compromised. All these incidents are in clear violation of the terms of reference of any country visit,” he said of his 11-day, fact-finding mission.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh told a press briefing Thursday that the government has done its best to facilitate the special rapporteur’s visit including arranging all requested meetings.

“The reception of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on religious freedom to visit Vietnam demonstrated the goodwill, cooperative and open attitude of the Vietnamese government as well as the seriousness of Vietnam in implementing its commitments when it applied to join the U.N. Human Rights Commission,” he said.

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