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4/12/2024 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) — During an April 11 press briefing, Nguyen Van Ky, vice chairman of the government committee for religious affairs in Vietnam, denied any discrimination based on religion or belief. 

“Religious organizations in Vietnam have been given favorable conditions to operate in line with their charters and statutes as well as legal regulations,” Nguyen said. “The state has always paid attention to and created conditions for all religions to have their activities held normally.” 

Nguyen failed to mention the severe persecution plaguing multiple religious and ethnic minorities throughout Vietnam. The traditionally Christian Hmong and Montagnard ethnic groups, for example, face ongoing government-perpetuated persecution. Several reports, including the United States Commission of International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) annual report, document multiple instances of violence against these two groups, namely through “harassment, banning peaceful religious activities, interrogating and threatening with imprisonment, imposing heavy fines, and coercing them to denounce and leave their denominations and instead join state-controlled Protestant organizations.” 

For these reasons, USCIRF has recommended that the United States government designate Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern for 22 years, beginning in 2002. USCIRF makes these recommendations under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which requires the U.S. president to designate any government that has “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom” as a Country of Particular Concern. 

The U.S. government reserves this designation for governments that engage in the most severe violations, designating only eight countries on average per year. While Vietnam has only received such designation three times, the expert staff on religious freedom in USCIRF has determined that Vietnam’s religious freedom status is worthy of the most severe designation. 

Nguyen’s statements offended many Vietnamese religious minorities and others connected to the country. 

We pray that the United States government will have the courage to stand up to the repressive government in Vietnam by designating the country as a CPC in 2024. We pray that the Lord would enact divine justice upon the Vietnamese government, both for the continued perpetuation of persecution and the outright denial of such actions. We pray that the Lord would protect the ethnic and religious minorities from persecution and continue to remind them that he sees and knows their suffering despite it being ignored by those who vowed to protect them. 

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