Ambassador Jackie Wolcott, Commissioner at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), wrote an open letter to a a pastor who has been imprisoned unjustly in Vietnam and his wife. The letter expresses support and solidarity with Pastor Chinh in his struggle for religious freedom in a Communist country. Pastor Chinh has served 5 out of an 11 year sentence and is being denied vital medical treatment. Pastor Chinh’s wife, Tran Thi Hong, has reportedly been harassed, attacked, and according to some organizations recently tortured. The open letter states, “As long as you remain in prison, Pastor, and as long as the Vietnamese authorities continue to unfairly treat you and your family, please be assured that I am dedicated to publicly and privately working on your behalf, so that your family can be reunited and you can freely practice your faith, openly and without further threat.”
5/17/2017 Vietnam (USCIRF) – Dear Pastor Chinh and Mrs. Hong:
I write to you as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commissioner on International Religious Freedom and a person of faith who is deeply concerned about your well-being. I want to express my Commission’s and my own support and solidarity with you as you continue your struggles in support of religious freedom. Your plight rightfully has drawn the attention of people worldwide.
This is a poignant time to highlight your struggle. Twelve years ago this month, the United States and Vietnam reached an agreement requiring the Vietnamese government to improve religious freedom conditions in your country. Sadly, and as you know all too well, this agreement largely has been followed by more restrictions, not more freedom.