May 12, 2019 / 08:27

Freedom of religion in Vietnam upheld: Hanoi responds to Washington report

The Hanoitimes - Vietnam said it ensures free religious practices to all those who profess their faith.

Vietnam continues affirming that it pursues consistent policies on the freedom of religion and belief and of those who simply profess and practice their faith. 
Illustrative photo
Le Thi Thu Hang, spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: MOFA
The policies which are constitutionalized have been made practical, said Le Thi Thu Hang, spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), in response to a question on the release of 2019 Annual Report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) late last month. 

Hang hailed the USCIRF’s acknowledgement of Vietnam’s achievements and movements in ensuring free religious practices but some of the commission’s remarks remain biased and wrong about the situation in Vietnam. 

She added that Vietnam has completed the legal framework, including policies on religion and belief, especially the Law on Religion.

As a result, 95% of people in Vietnam are free to follow their faith. Some 27% of total population are followers of different religious sects. There are nearly 53,000 religious dignitaries and 134,000 interns working in 28,000 worship facilities, Hang said in a statement released by the MOFA.   

Vietnam has more than 8,000 religious festivals annually and it has hosted many international religious festivals including the 500th anniversary of the Christian Reformation in 2017 and the UN Day of Vesak Celebrations for three times in 2008, 2014, and 2019, Hang said.  

The USCIRF said in its report that Vietnamese police harassed Catholic, Hoa Hao, and Cao Dai religious leaders for participating in religious freedom conferences overseas and for meeting with foreign diplomatic personnel. Ethnic minority communities faced especially egregious persecution for the peaceful practice of their religious beliefs, including physical assault, detention, or banishment.