Violations of Religious Freedom in Vietnam in 2020

Violations of Religious Freedom in Vietnam in 2020


Known for its beautiful beaches, rivers, and pagodas, Vietnam is a country in the Southeast part of Asia. This country’s capital, Hanoi, is known to be the home of the country’s Communist era. Vietnam runs on a one- party socialist republic framework that is dedicated to the establishment of socialism. The government follows two ideologies which are Marxism- Leninism ideology and Ho Chi Minh Thought. The Marxism – Leninism is the official state ideology of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the Ho Chi Minh Thought is a political philosophy that is built upon the Marxism- Leninism ideology and the principles of Ho Chi Minh. It was constructed and formalised in 1991 by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Up to this date, China has been the biggest influence for Vietnam. The two communist governments may have had some border disputes but their relationship has been smooth sailing by far. The Vietnamese government does everything that they can to oppress those who are politically sensitive and opposes them. They also continue to restrict the people’s human rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and beliefs, association, and assembly. Authorities block every site that produces content that is politically sensitive. They also harass, intimidate, assault, imprison, restrict movement, detain, and arrest any person who dares to criticize the government.

Any religious beliefs or practices in Vietnam need to have the government’s approval in order to exist and to operate. The Vietnamese government only allows a few religious practices as long as it follows the right legislation, surveillance, and registration requirements. The government also places a ban on any religious activities or practices that may oppose the idea of “national interest,” “public order,” or “national unity.” If practices are done outside of the designated religious facilities that are controlled by the government, there are a lot of possibilities that may happen such as being imprisoned and harassed by the police force. A person that is part of an unrecognized religion, such as Cao Dai, Christian, Hao Hao, and Bhuudists, all experience a lot of surveillance, intimidation, and harassment. If a person is a follower of an independent religion that is not recognized by the Vietnamese government, he will be subjected to a lot of bad things such as public criticism, harassment, forced denunciation of religion and faith, detention, interrogation, imprisonment, and torture. 

Over the course of the years, there are a number of human rights violations that were made by the Vietnamese government. There are actually a lot of people who were imprisoned in Vietnam and were labelled as Religious Prisoners of Conscience. Since 2019, they have actually made a few actions to improve the status of human rights in the country. In January, the Vietnamese government said that they have successfully implemented 159 recommendations and partially implemented 16 recommendations. The country was given a total of 182 recommendations that they accepted during their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2014. These recommendations were given by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.