United States Commission on International Religious Freedom – Vietnam in the 2013 Annual Report

USCIRF-Logo[ndlr] Le rapport annuel de la Commission des Etats-Unis sur la liberté religieuse dans le monde vient d’être mis en ligne le 30 avril 2013. Le Viêt-Nam a été réinscrit sur la liste des pays concernés par les violations en matière de droits religieux. Le rapport pointe du doigt le rôle d’une force de police spécialisée dite “Police des religions” (Công An Tôn Giáo) pour réprimer les groupes religieux indépendants (bouddhistes, caodaïstes, Hoa Hao ou protestants) ou les jeunes catholiques.  Cette publication officielle est divulguée alors que 5 groupes religieux importants ont publiés ce 1er mai 2013 une “Déclaration commune” en faveur de la démocratie dans le cadre de la refonte de la constitution de 1992.

Présentation succincte du rapport de l’USCIRF ci-dessous. A lire sur le site de l’organisation.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

FINDINGS: The government of Vietnam continues to expand control over all religious activities, severely restrict independent religious practice, and repress individuals and religious groups it views as challenging its authority. Religious activity continues to grow in Vietnam and the government has made some important changes in the past decade in response to international attention, including from its designation as a “country of particular concern” (CPC). Nevertheless, authorities continue to imprison or detain individuals for reasons related to their religious activity or religious freedom advocacy; independent religious activity remains repressed; the government maintains a specialized police for dealing with religious groups; legal protections for government-approved religious organizations are subject to arbitrary or discriminatory interpretations based on political factors; and converts to ethnic-minority Protestantism and Catholicism face discrimination, intimidation, and pressure to renounce their faith.

Given these systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations, USCIRF recommends that Vietnam be designated as a Country of Particular Concern country. The Commission has recommended that Vietnam be named a CPC since 2001. The State Department did so in 2004 and 2005, but removed the designation in 2006 because of progress toward fulfilling a binding agreement.

In this reporting period, groups and individuals viewed as hostile to the Communist Party or that refuse government oversight were arrested, detained, and harassed. Vietnam also issued a revised decree on religion that expanded control over religious affairs. Government officials continued to target Catholic communities, including with destruction of properties, detentions, and arrests. Police used force against Catholic clergy engaged in religious activities and continue to restrict members of the Redemptorist Order. Independent Protestants and Catholics in the Central Highlands were detained, beaten, and arrested in an ongoing campaign to repress their activities. Hoa Hao activists were sentenced for documenting religious freedom violations. Independent Hoa Hoa congregations, Cao Dai and Khmer Buddhist temples, and United Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) pagodas faced harassment and restrictions. Human rights defender Le Quoc Quan was arrested and is being held without charge.

PRIORITY RECOMMENDATIONS: The U.S. government should use its diplomatic and political resources to advance religious freedom and related human rights in Vietnam. The United States should use the CPC designation to spur high level engagement and achieve measurable improvements. Overall, U.S. policy, programs, and public statements should support those in Vietnam peacefully seeking greater freedoms and the rule of law. USCIRF recommends that any expansion of U.S. economic or security assistance programs in Vietnam be linked with human rights progress and the creation of new and sustainable initiatives in religious freedom and programs in rule of law and civil society development. Additional recommendations and benchmarks for U.S. policy toward Vietnam can be found at the end of this chapter.

Click here to view USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report (PDF)