With a long-standing cultural tradition, Vietnam is inhabited by 54 ethnic groups with various religions. Today, in Vietnam, there are over 26.5 million religious followers (accounting for 27 percent of the total population); there is no discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief, no conflicts and disputes among religions; followers of different beliefs or religions co-live in harmony in the Vietnamese community.
In order to guarantee people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, from the first Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1946) to the current Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the State has always affirmed that freedom of religion and belief is one of the fundamental human rights. The
latest Constitution, which was approved by the National Assembly on 28 November 2013 and officially came into effect on 1 January 2014, contains new stipulations on human rights. It represents new advances in Vietnam’s judicial thinking and the institutionalization of human rights in Vietnam and follows the standards set forth in international human rights conventions.
In accordance with the implementation of institutional principles, the State constantly improves the legal system on belief and religion to satisfy the religious needs of the people, to promote the national great unity strength, to build an increasingly developed, democratic, equitable and advanced Vietnam. In order to concretize the 2013 Constitution and in correspondence with the real belief and religious activities in Vietnam, at its second session’s sitting on 18 November 2016, the 14th National Assembly passed the Law on Belief and Religion. On 30 December 2017, the Government issued Decree No. 162/2017/NDCP detailing a number of articles of this Law and measures to put it into effect.
In recent years, Vietnam has recorded multiple important achievements in the cause of protecting and promoting human rights, including the right to freedom of belief and religion. The implementation of the religious policy of Vietnam has led to significant changes in the religious life in this country, including the religious activities of both followers and religious dignitaries and organizations. The State has granted official recognition to 36 religious organizations, presented registration certificates for religious activities to four organizations and one religious sect under 16 religions. Accordingly, other activities such as dignitaries training, the construction and repair of places of worship, international relations of religious individuals and organizations are carried out in accordance with the law. It may be said that the recent belief and religious activities in Vietnam have advanced in a positive direction, significantly contributing to national construction and development.
While evaluating the guideline and policies towards religion, as well as the achievements in religious work, the Documents of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam outlines the tasks for religious work in the time to come as follows: “[It is necessary] to motivate, unite and rally religious organizations, dignitaries and believers to lead a good life, both secular and religious, and to make active contributions to national construction and defense. To provide religious organizations with guarantees to operate in accordance with legal stipulations and their charters and rules recognized by the State. To draw on religions’ fine cultural and ethical values and resources for national development.”
To help readers at home and abroad, researchers, and those interested in religious matters have a better understanding of the religious policy and religious life in Vietnam, the Vietnam Government Committee for Religious Affairs has published this book entitled Religions and Religious Policy in Vietnam, with basic information on the religions, religious policy, and achievements in guaranteeing the freedom of belief and religion in Vietnam, challenges to be overcome and priority directions, in order to promote the people’s better enjoyment of the freedom of belief and religion.