Vietnam Government Committee for Religious Affairs Receives Delegation of US lawyers

GCRA Press Release — GCRA receives US lawyers delegation

Prof. Cole Durham, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies under Brigham Young University led a delegation to visit the Government Committee for Religious Committee (GCRA) on January 20, 2016.

Joining the US delegation included First Secretary of the United States Embassy in Hanoi David V. Muehlke, Political Officer of US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh city Garret Harkin.

Welcoming the delegation were Vice Chairman of the GCRA Bùi Thanh Hà, representatives from the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children, the Government Office, the Ministry of Justice and the GCRA Departments for International Relation and Legislation & Inspection.

At the reception, Vice Chairman Bùi Thanh Hà shared with the guests the current religious situation in Vietnam and guidelines and policies of the Party and State on belief and religion. Accordingly, about 95% of Vietnamese population currently has some forms of belief or religious life with about 8,000 festivals. He also emphasized that the Vietnamese Government always respects and guarantees the right to freedom of belief and religion for every people.

Regarding the draft of law on belief and religion, Director of the GCRA’s Legislation and Inspection Department Nguyễn Khắc Huy shared that the proposed new law on belief and religion aims to better protect the right to freedom of belief and religion for people and stipulate responsibilities of State competent authorities in ensuring the right to religious freedom. The draft law on belief and religion has been drafted in line with the 2013 Constitution’s spirit on freedom of religion and belief as well as compatible to international agreements and treaties to which Vietnam is a member.

Currently, the fifth draft law on belief and religion consists of 11 chapters, 11 entries and 68 articles, specifying regulations on religious activities, international activities of the religious organizations and individuals, religious activities of foreigners and responsibilities of State competent agencies.

Speaking at the visiting reception, Prof. Cole Durham thanked the GCRA for its welcome and information about religion in Vietnam, and expressed for more exchanges on religious issues in the coming time.