Article 24 of the Constitution 2013 affirms the religious or belief right as one of fundamental human rights to be respected and protected by the State. The article stated:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of belief and religion, and has the right to follow any religion or to follow no religion. All religions are equal before law.
2. The State shall respect and protect the freedom of belief and religion.
3. No one may violate the freedom of belief and religion, nor may anyone take advantage of a belief or religion in order to violate the law.
The Law on Belief and Religion with 68 articles in 9 chapters, approved by the 14th National Assembly at its second session on November 2016 and to take effect on January 1, 2018, has institutionalized Article 24 of the constitution on human right to freedom of religion or belief.
Article 6 of the Law on Belief and Religion read “The everyone’s right to freedom of belief and religion” with specifications:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of belief and religion, and has the right to follow any religion or to follow no religion.
2. Everyone has the right to express his or her own religious beliefs; conduct religious worshiping rites; take part in religious or belief festivals; learn and practice religious tenets and laws.
3. Everyone has the right to practice religion at religious places, study at training schools or classes of religious organizations. A juvenile who wishes to lead a religious life or attend a religious training shall require agreement by his/her parents or guardian.
4. Dignitaries, deacons and religious shall be entitled to perform religious rites and carry out preaching and missionary activities at religious establishments or other lawful places.
5. A person who is illegally arrested, held in custody, temporarily detained, charged with a criminal offence, investigated, prosecuted, brought to trial or subject to judgment enforcement, or a person taken to rehabilitation center, has the right to use religious scriptures and express his/her own religious or belief.
6. The Government shall set forth detailed provisions ensuring the implementation of the rights stipulated in Paragraph 5 of this article.
With these specifications, the new law on belief and religion has broadened the right to religious freedom in line with the constitution 2013 where not only citizens but also everyone shall be entitled to enjoy such right.
Under the new law, everyone has the right to express his or her own religious beliefs, and practice religion at home and lawful places.
In addition, the new law provides detailed specifications for meeting religious needs of an individual who is illegally arrested, held in custody, temporarily detained, charged with a criminal offence, investigated, prosecuted, brought to trial or subject to judgment enforcement, or a person taken to a rehabilitation center.
These are new stipulations ensuring the protection of everyone’s right to freedom of religion or belief in accordance with the Constitution 2013, as well as international covenants on human rights.