Vũ Chiến Thắng, Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, said that while considering belief and religion as the demand of people, along with socio-economic development policies, Vietnam has over the past years paid much attention to and created favourable conditions for religious activities of people, including foreigners residing legally in Vietnam.
As part of the efforts to complete legal frameworks on religion, create a favourable legal corridor for religious activities, and lay a foundation for authorised agencies to improve their management tasks, the 14th National Assembly adopted the Law on Belief and Religion and gave the Government one year to stipulate the details of several articles of the law as well as measures to effectively enforce it, said Thắng.
Vice Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs Bùi Thanh Hà said that Vietnam is home to many ethnic minorities and religions. Over 95 percent of the Vietnamese population have been practicing belief or religion.
By the end of June 2017, the State has recognised or granted operation registration certificates to 41 organisations of 15 religions with about 25.3 million followers, accounting for 27 percent of the population, a rise of 35 percent over 2003, along with 60,799 dignitaries, 133,662 religious workers and 27,916 worshipping establishments, said Hà.
Over the past years, religious followers have made positive contributions to the cause of national construction and defence. All recognised organisations have operated in close relations with the nation and in line with the law, while the majority of religious dignitaries and followers have engaged in patriotic, charitable and poverty reduction movements.
The State of Vietnam has been working hard to observe the rights to freedom of belief and religion of all people, including foreign nationals legally residing in Vietnam, thus helping religious followers trust in the State’s leadership.
However, Hà also pointed to a number of problems in religious affairs, including some cases of social disorder, law violations in religious activities, and the moral and prestigious degradation of some religious dignitaries. Particularly, there have been some cases of abusing religion to incite people to cause social disorder and harm the national solidarity bloc, he said.
He said that the key principle in the State policy on belief and religion is to respect freedom to belief and religion of all people. Everyone has their rights to follow or not follow a belief or religion, he said, adding that the rights are respected and observed by the State and that all religions are equal before the law.
The official also briefed the participants on new and major contents of the Law on Belief and Religion and the Government’s Decree 162/2017/ND-CP.