US asked to objectively assess religious and belief situation in Vietnam


Vietnam regrets that although the United States has recognised some of the nation’s progress in protecting and promoting freedom of religion and belief, the US State Department's 2023 annual report on international religious freedom still gives biased assessments based on unverified and inaccurate information about the actual situation locally.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pham Thu Hang

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pham Thu Hang made the statement during a routine press briefing held on July 4 in Hanoi in reply to reporters’ questions regarding the Vietnamese reaction to the US State Department's 2023 annual report on international religious freedom, in which the US placed Vietnam on a special watch list.

The spokesperson emphasized that as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country with a rich belief and religious life, the country consistently implements a policy of respecting and ensuring freedom of belief and religion. This is along with the right to not be discriminated against on the basis of religion or belief, whilst the activities of religious organisations are guaranteed in accordance with legal regulations.

These rights have been clearly outlined in Vietnam's 2013 Constitution, as well as the 2016 Law on Belief and Religion and related legal documents which are guaranteed to be respected in practice, Hang said.

According to Hang, the nation is ready to discuss the matter with the US side, focusing on issues of shared concern in the spirit of frankness, openness, and mutual respect, thereby contributing to the enhancement of the joint comprehensive strategic partnership.

“In that spirit, Vietnam requests that the US make objective assessments based on accurate and comprehensive information sources about the actual situation in Vietnam and soon remove Vietnam from the US's special watch list on religious freedom,” the spokesperson stated.

Also at the press conference, the official answered a reporter's question regarding the US Department of State’s 2024 Trafficking in Persons Report, saying Vietnam welcomes the US’s objective assessments of the Southeast Asian cuntry's positive results in human trafficking prevention and control.

According to the official, in recent times Vietnam has continued to promote human trafficking prevention and combat according to key solutions and tasks set out in the Human Trafficking Prevention and Combat Program for the 2021 to 2025 period and orientation towards 2030, with the amendment of the 2011 Law on Human Trafficking Prevention and Control and strengthening of the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of human trafficking cases.

“Recently, we have identified and supported victims of human trafficking and promptly responded to new challenges of human trafficking in the region. Vietnam is also making efforts to realize the goals of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) according to the plan issued by the Prime Minister on March 20, 2020, to strengthen a transparent migration environment, protect the legitimate rights and interests of migrants and prevent the risk of human trafficking in international migration activities.

And in that spirit, we hope that Vietnam and the US will continue to boost closer cooperation closely, increase exchanges and dialogues to comprehensively and positively evaluate Vietnam's efforts and achievements in preventing and combating human trafficking in line with the spirit of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and the US,” Hang added.