Heads of GCRA’s office and departments of Protestant Affairs, International Relation, Legislation and Inspection, and Beliefs and Other religions also joint the reception.
Speaking at the reception, Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink spoke highly of Vietnam's efforts in ensuring freedom of belief and religion over the past years and had exchanges with the host about the implementation of the Law on Belief and Religion, detention of inmates considered by the US as related to religious practices, registration of religious practices, permission for inmates to use of scriptures, religious books or meet with religious dignitaries, etc.
For his part, Chairman Vũ Chiến Thắng said that Vietnam welcomed the objective assessments contained in 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom of the United States Department of State that recorded efforts and progress in ensuring and promoting the religious life in Vietnam. The Chairman took the chance to thank the US Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink for his goodwill and support in not bringing Vietnam back to the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) List and the Special Watch List (SWL).
The Vietnam State always consistently respects and guarantees the right to freedom of belief and religion of everyone. The Vietnam Government is improving polices and laws to better nsure the legitimate rights and interests of people, including freedom of belief and religion, he stated.
Regarding to the implementation of the Law on Belief and Religion, Chairman Vũ Chiến Thắng informed that from 2017 to 2019, over 2,100 conferences for dissemination of the new law on belief and religion were organized with over 950,000 participants who are officials at all levels, religious dignitaries, deacons and followers, and representative from foreign diplomatic agencies in Hanoi.
In 2018-2019, the GCRA also sent delegations to localities for inspecting the implementation of the law on belief and religion in 19 cities and provinces. In particular, in June 2020, the GCRA conducted inspections in Ho Chi Minh City, Nghe An, Hung Yen and Thanh Hoa provinces.
According to the Law on Belief and Religion, an organization shall be licensed for religious activities if it meets all the conditions specified in Article 18 and recognized as a religious organization if it meets all the conditions specified in Article 21. For invalid dossiers, the central State governance shall issue written reply with clearly state reasons.
Since the Law on Beliefs and Religions came into effect, three religious organizations have been granted the registration certificate for religious activities for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Vietnam United Gospel Outreach Church, and the Vietnam Full Gospel Church. The Vietnam Assemblies of God Church has received the certificate of legal entity recognition. In addition, 10 evangelical chapters, 100 meeting groups in the Central Highlands and Binh Phuoc province, and 5 evangelical chapters and 198 meeting groups in the North region have been registered with local authorities, he added.
Overview of the reception
Regarding the detention of inmates considered by the US considered as related to religious practices, the Chairman stated that in Vietnam no prisoners related to religious practices are currently serving sentences. All inmates are tried for violations of the Vietnam law.
During the time serving sentences at the prisons, the rights of inmates expressing their belief or religion have been guaranteed according to the Law on Belief and Religion and relevant laws.
Vietnam is willing to welcome international delegations to learn about the religious life in Vietnam in the spirit of goodwill, objectivity, respect for the truth, and compliance with Vietnamese laws, Chairman Vũ Chiến Thắng stated.
Chairman Vũ Chiến Thắng affirmed that Vietnam is open for exchanges with the US on issues of mutual interests in the spirit of frankness, equality, mutual respect and understanding.
Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink thanked the GCRA leader for information exchanges. With the milestone marking the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam-US diplomatic ties, he affirmed that the US always supports the prosperous development of Vietnam and wishes Vietnam to be always as a reliable partner of the US in all fields.
Chairman Vũ Chiến Thắng introduces the GCRA’s religious work magazine to Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink