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

 

'Very Concerned' After Court Ruling: UNHRC On Transfer Of 267 People From Australia To Nauru

Most of these people were reportedly brought to Australia from Nauru to receive medical treatment and are in a fragile physical and mental state. The group includes more than 12 women and at least one child who have allegedly suffered sexual assault or harassment while in Nauru. The group also includes 37 children born in Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Sanctions To Be Lifted: NZ Welcomes Implementation Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Duty Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the next stage in the historic nuclear deal between Iran, the Five Permanent (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany... “New Zealand has now started the domestic process for removing the UN sanctions." More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Davos Reports: 62 People Own Same Wealth As Half The World

Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.. More>>

ALSO:

Jakarta: UN Secretary-General On Attacks

The Secretary-General condemns the bombings and gun attacks in Jakarta today... there is absolutely no justification for such acts of terrorism. He hopes the perpetrators of today's attacks will be swiftly brought to justice. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: America, The Gated

How, in a global metropolis like New York, do you write about immigration as a problem to be solved? And yet immigration is a hot button issue among those fighting to break away from the unruly clump of starters in the race for Republican nominee. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news