Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vũ Chiến Thắng on December 5 received and had exchanges with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E. Knapper on the working visit of the Vietnam government officials and religious dignitaries delegation to the U.S. in October, 2023.
At the reception
Joining the reception included Chairman of the Vietnam Government Committee for Religious Affairs (GCRA) Vũ Hoài Bắc.
At the event, Deputy Minister Vũ Chiến Thắng informed that during the visit to the U.S. from October 10-22, the delegation had 24 meetings in three states with American politicians, U.S. government diplomatic agencies and organizations, representatives of faithful communities in the U.S., several organizations and agencies of the United Nations, Vietnamese diplomatic agencies in the U.S. and Vietnamese religious dignitaries living in the country in order to clarify differences between Vietnam and the U.S. on human rights and religious issues, and adopted an information exchange mechanism through Vietnam's diplomatic representative agencies in the U.S. and through the dialogue channel with the Vietnam Government Committee for Religious Affairs.
Through frank and open exchanges, the Vietnam delegation updated information on cases of concern and lack of information from the U.S. side, take note of a list of cases raised by the U.S. Department of State and the USCIRF, and promptly responded to misleading and not objective assessments of the religious life in Vietnam.
During the meetings, the U.S. side acknowledged Vietnam's achievements in ensuring freedom of belief and religion over the past years and the proactive coordination of the Vietnam delegation, and the two sides have committed to jointly building and implementing measures to reach consensus on approaches and assessment of the religious freedom in Vietnam, the Deputy Minister added.
At the reception, U.S. Ambassador Marc E. Knapper congratulated Deputy Minister Vũ Chiến Thắng on his successful trip to the U.S. and expressed his support for increasing exchanges on religious issues between authorities of the two countries.
The U.S. Ambassador also highly appreciated facilitations by the Vietnam government extended to the U.S. diplomatic missions during field trips to provinces and cities of Vietnam for visiting worship facilities and meeting with religious groups in order to learn about the real belief and religious life in the country, such as the recent visits to Cao Bang, Tuyen Quang and Gia Lai.
Through these visits, U.S. diplomatic missions in Vietnam have the opportunity to interact with Vietnamese faith communities, which practically help them objectively reflect on the belief and religious life and freedom policy on belief and religion in Vietnam, effectively contributing to the advocacy process to remove Vietnam from the special watch list (SWL) on religious freedom.
Posing for group photo
Concluding the reception, Deputy Minister Vũ Chiến Thắng affirmed that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government Committee for Religious Affairs stay ready to welcome U.S. religious organizations and dignitaries, and diplomatic agencies to visit Vietnam to directly observe and access belief and religious life and the state policies on belief and religion. With their roles and functions, Vietnamese authorities commit to support U.S. agencies in implementing programs and projects relating to religion in Vietnam, including exchange and cooperation activities in training of human resources and civil servants tasked with religious affairs in localities.
He also proposed the two sides make efforts to enhance mutual understanding and consensus in assessments of religious issues, and continue promoting effective cooperation between the two agencies to work for the early removal of Vietnam from the SWL list, contributing to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.