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US announces religious freedoms accord with Vietnam

By May 9, 2005

USA (MNN)–Vietnam has dodged sanctions for religious freedom violations by reaching an accord with the United States.

To further announce their good intentions, Vietnam’s prime minister will make an historic visit to Washington next month, on the issue.

There was also a good faith effort of releasing religious prisoners and allowing closed churches to re-open. However, Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra reminds us that, “A new law in religion was introduced six months ago that bans any religious activity deemed to threaten national security, or national unity. That law was put into effect only six months ago, so what we read and what we see might be two different things.”

Only last year, the United States classified Vietnam as a “country of particular concern” for violating religious freedoms. The administration had been urged in March to impose a travel ban on Vietnamese government officials accused of committing religious persecution.

Dykstra says it’s a matter of prayer. “The new ordinance was used to prohibit unregistered church services in private homes. And then, we see only last week this private prayer service and this house church was disrupted by the police. That’s why we’re very skeptical of what they’re saying right now.”

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