Pushes to Re-List Vietnam a “Country of Particular Concern”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced H.Res. 218, legislation calling on the State Department to re-list Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern” for its gross religious freedom violations.

“Unfortunately, the human rights situation in Vietnam remains dire.  As Human Rights Watch states in its 2013 countries report, Vietnam suppresses nearly every human right, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of religion.  In fact, Vietnam has taken steps backwards on human rights,” said Chairman Royce.

In its most recent report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommends re-listing Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern,” finding: “Vietnam’s overall human rights record remains poor, and has deteriorated.”

“There is no religious freedom in Vietnam today.  Instead we see beatings with batons and electric rods by police officers, contract thugs, and the Religious Security Police.  We see refusal of legal recognition to over 600 Hmong Protestant churches, which has led to harassment, detentions, and home destructions.  And we see the imprisonment of 355 Montagnard Protestants for their peaceful demonstrations for land rights and religious freedom in the Central Highlands. 

“In just the first six weeks of 2013, at least 40 dissidents have been convicted in show trials.  That means in just two months, the communist government has already eclipsed last years’ total.  And despite this behavior, Vietnam is actively pursuing a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. 

“It is time to expose these human rights abuses.  If we continue to ignore Hanoi’s terrible repression, we do a great disservice to the suffering people of Vietnam,” said Chairman Royce.

Note: Chairman Royce is the lead cosponsor of the Vietnam Human Rights Act.  Additionally, he is co-chair emeritus of the Congressional Vietnam Caucus.