Decree Against Religion in Vietnam?


Christian Solidarity Worldwide has expressed concerns about a new decree that came into force in Vietnam on Jan. 1, which sets out conditions for registration of religious activities and practitioners and includes a wide range of limitations on religious practice. Catholic priests and parishioners in Vietnam are reported to believe this “backward” decree is a sign that the government is following a Chinese model and “looking for a way to control and restrict the freedom of religion.” Thich Quang Do, 84, the head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam who is currently under house arrest, warned that the new decree will “seriously curtail religious freedom” in Vietnam. C.S.W.’s advocacy director, Andrew Johnston, said, “Vietnam has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; however, this decree appears to restrict religious activities in a manner not consistent with its obligations under [the covenant].... C.S.W. urges the government of Vietnam to ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief is fully guaranteed by law.”

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