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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news