Vietnam: CSOs Issue Report on Religious Freedom, Prisoners of Conscience
In the words of Christian Solidarity Worldwides’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper, “As the report observes, Vietnam was elected to the UN Human Rights Council in November 2013, yet over one year on, the government has yet to address the grave human rights concerns raised in the report, including violations against Christians and other religion or belief communities.”
2/4/2015 Vietnam (CSW)-24 independent Vietnamese civil society organisations (CSOs), have co-signed a report drawing attention to human rights abuses in Vietnam in 2014, including violations against the right to freedom of religion or belief.
The report aims to alert the UN Human Rights Council, the European External Action Service, foreign embassies in Vietnam and various members of the international community to “the blatant, illegal and systematic crackdowns on human rights defenders and dissidents” in Vietnam. In particular, the report claims that there are at least 105 prisoners of conscience currently detained in the country.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) welcomes this report, which includes information on the attacks on the Mennonite church centre in Binh Duong Province which CSW reported from June to November 2014. The CSOs’ report also covers the prohibition of worship and (religious) gatherings, the beating of religious clerks, monks and believers, and the demolition of religious facilities. CSW shares the authors’ concern that about the use of the charge of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” (Article 79 of the penal code) to suppress peaceful religious activists.