Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: Clarification of Vietnam’s official government policy on religion and belief could help to prevent local authorities from imposing their own kind of rules on religion.  On the other hand, when governments set rules on how one can exercise their religious freedom, it can lead to the restriction of that freedom.

By Vietnam News staff

08/15/2015 Vietnam (Vietnam News)

National Assembly Standing Committee members discussed making the draft Law on Religion and Belief more specific and changing its structure during a meeting yesterday.

Most deputies said the Law on Religion and Belief, which is in the draft stage, would assure citizens the right to religious freedom as stipulated in the 2013 Constitution. It would also put Viet Nam in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the country joined in 1982.

Nguyen Duc Hien, head of the NA’s Ombudsman Committee, said the drafting committee should review the reality of religious rights in Viet Nam, including management by State agencies, in order to enact clear, tight regulations. People would be able to exercise their right to religious freedom in accordance with the law.

Many deputies disagreed with the law’s structure. They suggested the drafting committee study more about religious activities and include them in the draft law.

Le Minh Thong, vice chairman of the NA Committee for Legal Affairs, said religion and belief were two separate concepts and that the difference needed to be stated clearly.

The drafting committee should make regulations clear to avoid confusion between religious beliefs and cultural festivals, Thong said. It should focus more on practises outside of cultural festivals, like ancestor worship.

In terms of State management of religious beliefs, Truong Thi Mai, head of the Social Affairs Committee, said the drafting committee should add more provisions about the rights and responsibilities of Vietnamese people and expatriates in Viet Nam so they could practise their religions in accordance with the State’s management.

NA deputies also agreed on the need to write a list of prohibited acts in the draft law. This would create a legal basis for what individuals could and could not do, and give authorised agencies an idea of how to manage religious activities.

NA deputy chairman Uong Chu Luu said the prohibited acts should include misusing beliefs or religion to disrupt national unity.

Deputies also asked the drafting committee to co-operate with ministries, sectors and NA committees to review the provisions of the draft law to make sure it complied with current legislation.

[Full Story]