World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Viet Nam: ‘litmus test’ for religious freedom

Greater local-level autonomy in Viet Nam would be ‘litmus test’ for religious freedom – UN expert

31 July 2014

During his recent visit to Viet Nam, the United Nations independent expert on religious freedom, Heiner Bielefeldt, stressed the need for religious communities in the country to be able to operate also outside of the officially established channels for religious practice.

Wrapping up a 10-day visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief expressed his concerns and hopes regarding the current situation in Viet Nam, where the right of religious communities to independently operate is often restricted and unsafe.

He noted that there are many serious violations of freedom of religion or belief, in particular affecting independent religious groups from Buddhist and Protestant communities, and activists within the Catholic Church.

“Granting autonomy for religious communities to function independently would be a litmus test for the development of freedom of religion or belief in Viet Nam,” Mr. Bielefeldt said.

He expressed appreciation towards the Government`s effort to improve freedom of religion or belief via legal instruments.

However, he also underlined the need for long-lasting improvement. “Official registration status with the Government is no guarantee that freedom of religion or belief is fully respected,” Mr. Bielefeldt said.

In this respect, Mr. Bielefeld particularly underlined the need for the new Government legislations on religious affairs to extend existing norms and practices to everyone’s right of freedom of religion or belief.

“Freedom of religion or belief has the status of universal human rights to be respected prior to, and independent of, any particular acts of administrative approval,” he stressed.

During his recent visit to the country, which began on 21 July and ended today, the Special Rapporteur met with various Government officials and local authorities to discuss issues related to his mandate. In his effort to meet recognized and unrecognized religious or belief communities and civil society organisations, however, Mr. Bielefeldt encountered many people under “heavy” surveillance by the police.

“I received credible information that some individuals with whom I wanted to meet had been under heavy surveillance, warned, intimidated, harassed or prevented from travelling by the police,” he noted.

Mr. Bielefeldt is currently working on his conclusions and recommendations report regarding the current situation of freedom of religion or belief in Viet Nam, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban To Take Up Fight Against Ebola With All UN Organisations

Street sellers at Waterside market in central Monrovia, where there has seen a huge drop in customers over the past months due to the onset of the Ebola Virus Disease. Photo: UNDP/Carly Learson (20 November 2014) More>>

ALSO:

Darfur: UN-Backed Event Promotes Role Of Women In Peace

Darfur: amid mass rape allegations, UN-backed event promotes role of women in peace processes More>>

Ebola Cases No Longer Rising In Guinea And Liberia

In Conakry, Guinea, a mobilizer teaches children about proper handwashing techniques, which help prevent the spread of diseases, including Ebola. Photo: UNICEF/Timothy La Rose More>>

ALSO:

UN: Alleged Mass Rape In North Darfur

UNAMID commanders from Rwanda and Ethiopia exhange duties in Tabit, North Darfur, to escort a convoy of World Food Programme (WFP) trucks travelling from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran More>>


Illegal Fishermen Encroach On World’s Most Isolated Tribe

Due to their isolation the Sentinelese of India's Andaman Islands are the most vulnerable society on the planet. They face increasing threats from illegal fishermen who are targeting their waters. More>>

World War: Nearly 1,000 Dead Amid Shaky Ukraine Ceasefire

In latest report, UN rights office says nearly 1,000 dead amid shaky Ukraine ceasefire More>>

ALSO:

Palestinian Activists Cross Apartheid Wall

Friday morning around 50 Palestinian and international activists used makeshift bridges to cross the Apartheid wall between Qalandiya and Northern Jerusalem. This non-violent direct action was in response to the restrictions Israel had placed on Palestinian ... More>>

Police And Crime: FBI Warns Ferguson Decision ‘Will Likely’ Lead To Violence

As the nation waits to hear whether a Missouri police officer will face charges for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson , Mo., the FBI is warning law enforcement agencies across the country that the decision “will likely” lead ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news