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Letter to Secretary Pompeo on Religious Freedom in Vietnam – Jubilee Campaign, USA

Letter to Secretary Pompeo on Religious Freedom in Vietnam

 Image by Joseph Ken from Pixabay

March 27, 2020 

The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 2050

Dear Secretary Pompeo, 

We, representatives of concerned multi-faith organizations and individuals, write to urge your Department to publicly and privately call on the Vietnamese government to: 

– Allow all independent religious organizations to freely conduct religious activities and independently govern themselves. Churches and denominations that do not choose to join one of the officially authorized religious organizations with government-sanctioned boards should be allowed to operate independently. 

– End harassment, arrests, persecution, imprisonment, and ill treatment of followers of independent religions, and release those detained for peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of religion, belief, expression, assembly, and association. 

– Ensure that all domestic legislation addressing religious affairs is brought into conformity with international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); amend provisions in domestic law that impinge on freedom of religion and belief, expression, association, or peaceful assembly in violation of the ICCPR. 

Vietnam prescribes a multistage process for a religious organization to receive recognition. Under a new law, an independent religious organization must obtain a certificate of registration for religious activities from the provincial-level Committee of Religious Affairs. The new law prohibits sowing division among “the national great unity, harm state defense, national security, public order, and social morale.” This “national unity” catchphrase has been the basis for the suppression and harassment of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and many other independent religions. 

In this new law, under article 32, candidates for religious appointments must “have the spirit of national unity and harmony” while under article 37 religious education must include “Vietnamese history and Vietnamese law” as core subjects. 

Without freedom of religion for those religions independent from the government, there is no true freedom of religion. Systematic, ongoing, egregious suppression of religious freedom warrants the designation of a country of particular concern. Therefore, we support USCIRF’s call to place Vietnam back on the CPC list under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. 

Sincerely, 

ORGANIZATIONS: 

UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

CHURCH OF PROTESTANT LUTHERAN COMMUNITY OF VIETNAM 

ARCHBISHOP NGUYEN KIM DIEN ASSOCIATION 

FEDERATION OF VIETNAMESE NATIONALS 

TRADITIONAL HOA HAO BUDDHIST CHURCH 

SANGHA OF UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM 

REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE POPULAR BLOC OF CAO DAI CHURCH 

INSTITUTE FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF THE DHARMA 

INDEPENDENT OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH 

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY NATIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICE JUBILEE CAMPAIGN USA INC 

LOTUS BUDDHIST CONGREGATION 

BOAT PEOPLE SOS – RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PROJECT 

COMMITTEE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN VIETNAM 

MONTAGNARD EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF CHRIST 

VIETNAM COALITION AGAINST TORTURE (VN-CAT) ASSOCIATION OF CON DAU PARISHIONERS 

MINH VAN FOUNDATION 

BUDDHIST CHURCH OF AMERICA 

VIETNAMESE WOMEN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH 

ALLIANCE FOR AN INDEPENDENT AND DEMOCRATIC VIETNAM 

VIETNAMESE AMERICANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

VIETNAM DEMOCRACY CENTER 

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR VIETNAM 

TRAN NHAN TONG FELOWSHIP 

UYGHUR HUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT 

FEDERATION OF VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES OF THE USA 

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 

UNITED COUNCIL OF VIETNAMESE IN HOMELAND AND OVERSEAS 

WORLD VIETNAMESE BUDDHIST ORDER 

UNITED MACEDONIAN DIASPORA 

CENTER FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (UKRAINE) 

BUREAU DE LIAISON DES ASSOCIATIONS ET DES VIETNAMIENS LIBRES EN FRANCE 

HAPPY SCIENCE WASHINGTON BUREAU 

ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF IN VIETNAM 

INDIAN AMERICAN MUSLIM COUNCIL 

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN 

INDIVIDUALS: 

Rev. Joseph K. Grieboski Director, Office of Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Global Engagement 

Diocese of the Eastern USA 

INDEPENDENT OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH 

Scott Morgan 

President 

RED EAGLE ENTERPRISES 

Dr. Mike Ghouse 

President 

CENTER FOR PLURALISM 

Peggy Nienaber Vice President FAITH & LIBERTY 

Rev. Susan Taylor National Public Affairs Director CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY NATIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICE 

Ann Buwalda 

Executive Director 

JUBILEE CAMPAIGN USA INC 

Dr. Jianli Yang 

Founder and President 

CITIZEN POWER INITIATIVES FOR CHINA 

Most Ven. Thich Huyen Viet 

President, Second Office 

INSTITUTE FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF THE DHARMA 

Ven. Thich Vien Giao 

Abbot 

HONG AN BUDDHIST TEMPLE (DES MOINES, IA) 

Sub-dignitary Hua Phi 

Chair 

REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE POPULAR BLOC OF CAO DAI CHURCH 

Co-chair 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

Pastor Nguyen Hoang Hoa 

President 

CHURCH OF PROTESTANT LUTHERAN COMMUNITY OF VIETNAM 

Co-chair 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

Fr. Nguyen Huu Giai 

ARCHBISHOP NGUYEN KIM DIEN ASSOCIATION 

Fr. Nguyen Van Ly 

FEDERATION OF VIETNAMESE NATIONALS 

Co-chair 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

Le Van Soc 

Vice President, Central Leadership Committee 

TRADITIONAL HOA HAO BUDDHIST CHURCH 

Co-chair 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

Le Quang Hien 

General Secretary, Central Leadership Committee 

TRADITIONAL HOA HAO BUDDHIST CHURCH 

Most Ven. Thich Khong Tanh 

Vice President 

SANGHA OF UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM 

Co-chair 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

Dr. Do Van Hoi 

Director 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF VIETNAM 

Thierry Valle 

COORDINATION DES ASSOCIATIONS ET DES PARTICULIERS POUR LA LIBERTÉ DE CONSCIENCE 

Phan Van Huy Tam 

Leader 

BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANZATION OF BINH THUAN PROVINCE, VIETNAM 

Truong Thanh 

Head of Family 

BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANZATION OF BA RIA – VUNG TAU PROVINCE, VIETNAM 

Hoang Phuoc 

Director of Youth 

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH 

Dr. Doan Viet Hoat 

Chairman 

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR VIETNAM 

Tran Thi Thuc 

Director 

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR VIETNAM 

Dr. Ngo Thi Quynh Lam 

Acting Chair, Board of Directors 

BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA 

Tran Quang Phuoc 

BUDDHIST SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION 

Loan Vo 

BUDDHIST SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION 

Thien Nguyen 

BUDDHIST SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION 

Minh-Loi Nguyen 

BUDDHIST SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION 

Phan Viet Quoc 

Leader 

VAN HANH BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANZATION (SEATTLE, WA) 

Prof. Tran Gia Phung 

Historian 

Nguyen Kien 

Founder 

TRAN NHAN TONG FELLOWSHIP 

Dr. Quoc-Hung Tran 

Unit Leader 

TU BI BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANIZATION (ARLINGTON, TX) 

Chau Ngoc Thach 

Head of Family 

LA HAU LA BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANIZATION (SPOKANE, WA) 

Omer Kanat 

Executive Director 

UYGHUR HUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT 

Peter Kovach 

Former Director 

OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 

Prof. Phan Thong Hung 

President 

FEDERATION OF VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES OF THE USA 

Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi 

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 

Nguyen Van Thanh 

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 

Tran Hien 

INTERFAITH COUNCIL (HOUSTON, TX) 

Sister Thich Nu Chuc Thanh 

Assistant Director, Executive Committee 

VIETNAMESE AMERICAN UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH 

Dr. Vo Dinh Huu 

President 

UNITED COUNCIL OF VIETNAMESE IN HOMELAND AND OVERSEAS 

Nguyen Van Tanh 

FEDERATION OF VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES OF THE USA 

Luu Van Tuoi 

FEDERATION OF VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES OF THE USA 

Vu Van Thai 

General Secretary 

WORLD VIETNAMESE BUDDHIST ORDER 

Tran Hinh 

Leader 

BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA 

Truong Kim Anh 

Leader 

BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA 

Ton Tien 

Director, Board of Directors 

BUDDHIST YOUTH ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA 

Willy Fautré 

HUMAN RIGHTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS 

Satoshi Nishihata 

Washington Bureau Chief HAPPY SCIENCE USA 

Dr. Fabong Jemchang Yildam 

Chairman, Forum of State Chairmen, 

NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL OF NIGERIA 

Linh Nguyen, JD 

Director, Office of International Relations 

UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM