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ICC Note: The NOW! Campaign joined by 14 Vietnamese and international organizations calls for release of 165 prisoners who were arrested for their political or religious beliefs in Vietnam. Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas explained that religious communities in Vietnam continue to experience violations against their beliefs. Moreover, indigenous Christians in Vietnam suffer a double discrimination as both religious and ethnic minorities. Violations such as harassment, torture, and beatings are more common in the remote parts of the country.  

11/14/2017 Vietnam (Premier) – A joint initiative by 14 Vietnamese and international organisations, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has called for the release of 165 people arrested for their religious or political beliefs.

However, according to the advocacy group, the challenges of obtaining information about prisoners in the country mean that the real number is likely to be higher.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas welcomed the initiative and said: “Our research consistently finds that Christians and other religious communities in Vietnam continue to experience violations of their right to freedom of religion or belief.

“In particular, Christians from indigenous people groups suffer a double discrimination as both religious and ethnic minorities.”

The NOW! Campaign has urged the government of Vietnam to immediately release “all prisoners of conscience”, which is “anyone who has been arrested for his/her political, religious or conscientiously held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, colour, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status, who has not used violence or advocated violence or hatred”.

Thomas explained the vital role prisoners of conscience play in the Southeast Asian country.

He said: “In addition, a significant number of human rights defenders in Vietnam belong to religious communities.

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