Wisconsin Congressman Glenn Grothman and USCIRF Commissioner James A. Carr released an opinion piece on The Hill on August 20, highlighting the persecution of religious minorities and human rights advocates in Vietnam. In this piece, Grothman and Carr emphasize the statelessness of Hmong and Montagnard Christians as municipal government authorities refuse to grant these minorities essential household registration and citizenship identification documentation and thus render them unable to access medical care, education, and travel rights.
Additionally, Vietnam’s Law on Belief and Registration increases the requirements and difficulty for worship centers to legally register with the local governments. Numerous Hmong and Montagnard pastors, despite applying to register their churches and providing all necessary information, have been turned away by the government. As a result, these groups are forced to practice informally, and due to the government’s harsh strategy on stomping out unregistered and unofficial houses of worship, they often are the ones that face unjust and disproportionate punishment.
In their report, Congressman Grothman and Commissioner Carr raise the plight and imprisonment of Montagnard Pastor A Dao who was also a renowned religious freedom activist. Upon his return to Vietnam following a religious liberty conference in East Timor, A Dao was immediately detained and transferred to prison by Vietnamese government officials in an act that directly violates human rights and dignity.
“Through the Defending Freedoms Project of the congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), we are advocating for A Dao’s release. Pastor A Dao’s arrest and imprisonment is just one example of the challenges that ethnic minorities in Vietnam face when attempting to exercise their freedom of belief.”
Congressman Grothman and Commissioner Carr also refer to the February 2020 joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council 43rd Session by Jubilee Campaign and Boat People SOS (BPSOS), in which we outline in depth the endless religious freedom and human rights violations implemented by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
To learn more about the Defending Freedoms Project, click here.
To learn more about USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project, click here.
To read Jubilee Campaign’s August 2020 submission to the Human Rights Council regarding the imprisonment of Vietnamese Hoa Hao Buddhist legal expert, human rights advocate, and religious freedom activist Nguyen Bac Truyen, click here.