An examination of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Vietnam across two cycles (2009, 2014) reveals the following:
While Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) is guaranteed in the Constitution, domestic laws and practices do not conform with international standards;
Systematic discrimination and persecution was reported against all religious groups, especially ethnic and religious minorities; and
Bureaucratic and administrative obstacles hinder the full enjoyment of FoRB, especially by non-recognized religious groups.
Key UPR Recommendations on FoRB
The following recommendations were made on FoRB across two cycles:
Review laws to ensure full compliance with requirements of Article 18 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
Take better care of religious minorities and to ensure effective protection of their FoRB;
Eliminate bureaucratic and administrative obstacles, which hinder the activities carried out by religious communities and groups, including non-registered groups; and
Re-engage with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on FoRB.
Follow-up Action for Parliamentarians
Whereas the Government of Vietnam has noted its guarantees on FoRB, Parliamentarians must follow-up in order to:
Bring Vietnam’s FoRB laws in conformity with international standards;
Ensure the protection of FoRB of ethnic and minority communities;
Ensure the proper investigation of violations of FoRB and the persecution of individuals for their religious beliefs and practices; and
Ensure renewed and sustained interaction with UN special procedures.