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ICC NOTE: Vietnam has been working toward including a new law into their books related to the various religions in the country. NGO’s have raised concern over the potential passage of the new law for many months as it has been viewed as a step back from some of the progress Vietnam had made in the past. However, the new law is set come into effect this year and will not be a law on religion, but a law on the control of religion. It has the chance of looking similar to how China is dealing with the rise of Christianity. Vietnam is already a country of particular concern according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report. The new law will only allow for more repression and persecution among the Christian minorities in Vietnam. 

5/2/2016 Vietnam (World Watch Monitor) – Vietnam’s new “Law on Belief and Religion,” scheduled to come into effect this year, will add another layer of governmental repression and control to an already pressurised Church, says Vo Tran Nhat, Executive Secretary of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights.

“They’re going to adopt a new law, a law on religion. This law is not a law on religion; it’s just a law on how to manage the control of religion,” he said in a video interview with World Watch Monitor.

Last year, Reg Reimer, a professor at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, gave a thoroughoverview of the proposed law, saying “it is almost inevitable the new law will disappoint proponent of universal human rights”.

“The passing of this far-reaching new law on belief and religion … will much more likely move the political system toward more micromanagement and control of religion, rather than toward more religious freedom as internationally understood,” he said.

There have been five revisions to the draft of the new law, the latest being tabled in parliament in November 2015. No date has been set for when the law will come into effect; initial estimates suggested it may do so last year.

The new law will supersede the current decrees and ordinances on religion and cement their provisions. The current decrees were only a temporary measure; now they will be enshrined in law.

Vietnam is No. 20 on Open Doors’ 2016 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries in which life as a Christian is most difficult.

Transcript of video

“Communism in Vietnam is like a religion, a secular religion. Vietnam is a one-party state, and Article 4 of the constitution gives all the power to the Communist party.

“The Communist party is very paranoid. In fact, historically, it always considered people who are not with [it] are against [it]. Before, it was for ideological reasons. Now, I think it’s more a question just of power, money, etc., etc. All the organizations [that] are not Communist [are seen as] a threat.

“There is no religious freedom because the Communist regime tries to control everything in the religious life. The regime [has created] lots of other state-sponsored churches. There is unofficial and official, and unofficial churches are repressed. When you are recognized, it means you are under the control of the party and you can do nothing.

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