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Draft religion law cause for concern in Vietnam

By November 16, 2015

vietnamVietnam (VCM/ICC) — Lawmakers in Vietnam are expected to pass a new law on religion that will likely worsen oppression, according to many alarmed religious leaders and human rights’ groups. As a result, 27 organizations–including Voice Of the Martyrs Canada–have called on Vietnam’s government to make necessary changes to the new law draft before it’s passed in order to prevent further abuse of religious minorities from taking place.

In a statement issued on November 3, dozens of reputable international organizations have urged the government to heavily revise its law: “While the draft purports to acknowledge ‘the right to freedom of religion and belief’ and proclaims that the ‘government respects and protects the freedom of religion and belief of everyone,’ the provisions of the draft law, if passed, would act as a powerful instrument of control, placing sweeping, overly broad limitations on the practice of religion or belief within Vietnam, perpetuating the already repressive situation.” (Examples of this repression can be found at the Vietnam Country Report.)

Christians in Vietnam face persecution for their faith. (Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs)

Christians in Vietnam face persecution for their faith. (Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs)

Among the concerns listed in the joint statement are onerous registration requirements, excessive state control, and ambiguous wording that “could be used to perpetuate discrimination.” In a ten-point recommendation, the groups urged a redraft that is in line with international law and recommendations from the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion. To review the submitted statement, which includes these important recommendations, please click here.

Pray that God will oversee the mediation process of this new law as it’s being negotiated and reworked, speaking through those who represent Him and His statutes, to ensure the fairness and freedoms of the Vietnamese people–including the professing followers of Christ. Instead of feeling threatened by Christianity, may the country’s leaders recognize the benefits of having God-honouring and upright citizens who will work diligently as unto Him and operate with honesty and integrity in all situations–qualities that hopefully these leaders themselves will personally embrace and aspire to achieve for the governance of Vietnam.

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