Vice Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs (GCRA) Nguyễn Tiến Trọng hosted on November 9 a reception for a delegation of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE).
The five-member IGE delegation led by President Bob Roberts paid a visit to Vietnam on November 9-11 for signing a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnam - USA Society, and meeting with several state departments and agencies in Hanoi.
Speaking with the guest, Vice Chairman Nguyễn Tiến Trọng informed about the current belief and religious life in Vietnam, the policy of respecting and ensuring freedom of belief and religion of Vietnamese Party and State, and practical contributions of religious communities in the country.
The GCRA official emphasized that thanks to the open policy of the Vietnamese State on religious freedom, religious organizations in Vietnam all have diverse international relations, and many international religious festivals and events have been successfully held in Vietnam.
He stated that the U.S. designation of Vietnam on “Special Watch List” (SWL) for violating religious freedom in December 2022 was based on unverified and false information about the belief and religious life in Vietnam, negatively affecting the implementation of the current comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between Vietnam and the U.S.
Vice Chairman Nguyễn Tiến Trọng highly appreciated results of cooperation between the GCRA and the IGE in recent years and recognized the important role of IGE in connecting Vietnamese agencies and U.S. organizations and political circles on freedom of belief and religion in Vietnam. He also expressed hope the IGE would continue promoting its role for strengthening U.S. and Vietnam relations and providing objective information about the belief and religious life in Vietnam to the government and organizations in the U.S.
At the reception
During the event, President Bob Roberts shared about the IGE’s key missions in Vietnam and positive comments from religious dignitaries and organizations in Vietnam about the development in the state’s policies and laws on religion, and the prosperity of the religious life in Vietnam.
He also commented on some inadequacies in information and responses by Vietnamese authorities that cause incorrect evaluation on freedom of belief and religion in Vietnam, and expressed hope that Vietnamese authorities would improve these shortcomings for reducing the differences relating the religion freedom issues between the two sides.
The IGE chairman added that he annually writes a handwritten letter to U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom expressing his support for the situation of freedom of belief and religion in Vietnam and asked the U.S. not to put Vietnam on Special Watch List (SWL).
He also shared that the signing new five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnam - USA Society would help IGE continue implementing humanitarian projects and cooperating with Vietnamese agencies and organizations in order to provide mutual understanding and friendly relations between the U.S. and Vietnam including information exchanges on belief and religion in Vietnam for helping individuals and organizations in U.S. better understand and support Vietnam in persuading the U.S. Department of State to remove Vietnam from Special Watch List (SWL).