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Scientology National Affairs Office signs letter re religious freedom in Vietnam


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Scientology National Affairs Office signs letter regarding religious freedom in Vietnam.

When I cross-post about a civil rights letter signed by the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, I usually say the letter is not about the substantive issue, but is instead about the Church of Scientology building relationships, creating alliances, and establishing its bona fides as an organization concerned about civil rights. While the below letter certainly helps the Church of Scientology in these areas, the church also obviously has an interest in the substantive issue.

Expect an announcement that the Tech has been translated into Vietnamese.

The original letter is in Vietnamese. The excerpt is by Google translation.



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Open letter

To: The Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam
on the draft Law of Vietnam on Belief and Religion
Dear Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
Vietnam National Assembly Chairman
22 Hung Vuong Street,
Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Madam President of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan,

We, the civil society organizations here, in this letter to express our concerns about the proposed Law of Faith and Religion in Vietnam. The draft law, which has been amended several times and the religious community has launched several powerful critics, Congress is expected to approve a law to vote in the meeting in May 10-11, 2016.

The latest draft was discussed in a high-level meeting of the National Front of the Communist Party on 17 August, and moved to a number of religious communities to consult. Survey on the draft law published on Parliament's website shows that the bill includes 9 chapters with some improvements, but still maintains the unacceptable restriction of the right to freedom of religion or belief and other human rights. Specifically, the fundamental rights of freedom of religion or belief continues to decline because of difficulties requires registration and excessive interference of the state in the internal affairs of religious organizations.

Indeed, this version and the previous version has inherited the rules and regulations previously focused on the control and management of the government's activities and operating on religion; contrary to the spirit and principles of the freedom of religion and belief.
As mentioned above, the draft was sent to a number of religious communities to consult. However, a component Catholics protested about the short term, in the range from 18 to 30 August, not enough time so that they can review and comment on draft nay1. Moreover some independent religious groups not registered with the government, as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam Reunification, was not consulted.

There have been some improvements in this bill received, including provisions on the right to change the religion of an individual, as well as follow or not to follow any religion, the rights of some prisoners "used its books on religion and express religious beliefs or their ", and the right of religious organizations to participate in activities such as education, vocational training, medical care and social assistance and human knife.

However, the following recommendations are addressed by the special concerns raised by religious communities in Vietnam, and we, the undersigned organizations share the concern that:

1. The definition of a religion must be interpreted in accordance with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In the current draft, a religious organization is defined as "a group of people ... have been recognized by the government" (emphasis) (Article 2.13). This makes the members of the religious organization can not, or choose not to register with the government will fall into legal difficulties, they will not be protected by law for religious activities .

2. Register with the government can not be seen as a prerequisite for the exercise of freedom of religion and belief.

The registration process onerous and complex requires government approval for religious activities, the administration and the legal status of an organization. The warranties set out in Article 18 of the ICCPR is independent of, and not be bound by the conditions of the procedure, because domestic posed about notification, permission, recognition or registration.

3. Law not allow government officials to arbitrarily intervene in the internal affairs of religious organizations.

Provisions in this law allows the authorities to intervene too much in the internal affairs related to decisions, appointment, training, teaching and programs set by the religious organizations. Restricting the freedom of expression of religion and belief should never be exceeded or purpose permitted scope of Article 18 (3) of the ICCPR. As the Special Report of the United Nations on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Dr. Heiner Bielefeltd, said after a visit to Vietnam in 2014, "... registration can be considered as a proposal of state rather than a mandatory legal requirement. "

4. Language vague and discriminatory nature should be eliminated.

The draft law has vague language of "values ??and cultural traditions nice" (Article 10.1) and "divisive" (Article 5.4), the language can be used to discriminate with ethnic minorities and indigenous, independent groups and people with religious beliefs are considered "alien" (Article 2:12).

5. The regulations should be in place to establish the legal channels and mechanisms to help people file a complaint, and the complaint should be investigated and processed independently of the allegations in connection violations relating to the freedom of religion or belief.

For these reasons, we strongly urge that the draft law should be amended, in consultation with representatives of religious communities, including religious communities are not recognized, and professionals part of international human rights law, to ensure that laws protect freedom of religion or belief in accordance with Article 18 of the international Covenant on Civil and Political rights.

We are very eager to get response from Ms Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam on this important issue. Please She answers to the coordinator of the organization VCHR: Penelope Faulkner at [email protected] This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it. or coordinator of the CSW: Benedict Rogers in [email protected] This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ..

Sincerely Mrs. President Congress,


The signatures supporting:

Scott Morgan
President, Red Eagle Enterprises

Venerable Thich Phuoc Vinh
Phuoc Buu, Sangha Church PGVNTN

Rev. Susan Taylor
National Director of Public Affairs, Church of Scientology National Affairs Office


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@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Church of Scientology Says New Religion Law in Vietnam Contravenes Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Scientology Religion Org: New Religion Law in Vietnam Contravenes Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

November 27, 2016 • Religious Freedom

On November 18, 2016, Vietnam’s 14th National Assembly passed a new law on religion. Human rights advocates worldwide quickly denounced the law for its violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[1], which the Vietnamese government ratified in 1982.

Human Rights Without Frontiers reports that Võ Van Ái, President of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), criticized the new law: “…Instead of adopting legislation to protect and promote the enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief as in most civilized countries, Vietnam is once again using the law to increase state control, criminalize independent religious activities and give the authorities a cloak of legality to continue harassing, arresting and convicting its citizens at will.”

In October, 54 religious bodies and civil society organizations led by VCHR and Christian Solidarity Worldwide sent a letter of protest to the National Assembly President Nguy?n Th? Kim Ngân, detailing many of the problems with the law and calling for an urgent revision of the draft law before it came up for vote.

The open letter complains that provisions in the law allow the authorities to interfere excessively in the internal decisions, appointments, training, teachings and programs of religious organizations. Limitations on the manifestation of freedom of religion or belief are never to exceed in either purpose or scope those permitted in article 18(3) of the ICCPR.

To read the HRWF article, visit http://hrwf.eu/vietnam-vietnam-new-...ental-right-to-freedom-of-religion-or-belief/.

For the full text of the open letter to the National Assembly President, see: http://hrwf.eu/vietnam-open-letter-...on-vietnams-draft-law-on-belief-and-religion/.

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