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Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL2965, tabled on 19 November 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of freedom of religion in Vietnam; and whether the British Ambassador to Vietnam has raised the matter with the government of that country in the past 12 months.

Answered on

27 November 2014

We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Vietnam and are active in promoting freedom of religion or belief there. Our Embassy works closely with embassies of likeminded countries to ensure this issue is raised regularly with the Vietnamese authorities. Our Ambassador has directly raised with the Vietnamese authorities our concerns about Vietnam’s handling of the visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

Currently, there is a mixed picture on freedom of religion or belief in Vietnam. There are incidents of religious persecution, but most Vietnamese are able to practise the religion of their choice. Vietnam has increased the number of approved churches and other places of worship and invited the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to visit in July. However, the Special Rapporteur’s press statement at the end of his visit noted that planned visits to certain provinces had been disrupted as a result of official surveillance and intimidation of activists whom he was due to meet, as well as surveillance of his own activities, with the result that he was unable to investigate certain issues of concern e.g. reports that some ethnic minorities face problems practising their religion.