UN Special Rapporteur: Vietnam Lacks Religious Freedom

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 Vietnam still fails to respect for a person’s faith and religious belief, the the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Beilefeldt said in a press statement dated July 31.

In addition, people in minority religion areas were intimidated, harassed and prevented from meeting him. Beilefeldt also reported that the laws of Vietnam give the government agencies broad power to restrict and forbid freedom of religion, and specifically cited the example that “the invocation of unspecified ‘social interests’ may even lead to criminal prosecution, in accordance to Article 258 of the Penal Code.”

At a press conference, the Vietnamese Minitry of Foreign Affairs’ Pham Hai Anh, deputy head of its Department of International Organizations, stated that issued raised by Beilefeldt were merely “misunderstanding, lack of further exchange of information.”

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