To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of religious freedom in Vietnam; and what steps the Government is taking to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief in that country.
24 January 2018
Vietnam's new Law on Religion and Belief came into effect on 1 January 2018. While it reduces the time required for religious groups to obtain official recognition it still retains many of the burdensome restrictions from previous Laws.
We raise our concerns about human rights on a regular basis with the Vietnamese government both bilaterally and through multilateral fora. At the most recent UK-Vietnam Strategic dialogue between 4 abd 6 January 2018, I raised concerns regarding the strict control of civil and political rights in Vietnam, including freedom of expression and assembly, and the need for the Vietnamese government to create space for civil society. Freedom of religion and belief was included on the agenda at the recent EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue which took place in December 2017. The EU raised concerns about harassment and attacks against religious communities in Vietnam, and urged the Vietnamese government to ensure that the new Law on Religion and Belief is implemented in line with international standards.