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Parliamentary questions
25 April 2013
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief remain a concern in Vietnam, the EU is monitoring the situation notably in the context of the ongoing debates regarding the new draft constitution. The EU addresses these concerns through the enhanced human rights dialogue established in January 2012 under the partnership and cooperation agreement signed last June. Two sessions were held in January 2012 in Hanoi and October 2012 in Brussels. Freedom of Religion and Belief was a key element on both agendas and individual cases such as the one of UBCV leader Thich Quang Do were also raised. The EU was informed during these dialogues that Mr Thich Quang Do was not under house arrest and could be met freely anytime. He was visited last year by AU and US ambassadors to Vietnam, who found, however, that he is not allowed to leave the premises of the Pagoda where he lives.

In the enhanced dialogue in October 2012 Vietnam answered positively to the EU's call to re-engage with the UN special rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in view of a possible visit to the country. The EU will continue to push for the release of persons held in prison, detained or harassed for their religious beliefs, notably in the framework of the Human Rights Dialogue and in bilateral contacts. The case of Thich Quang Do shall also be addressed in this context given the apparent mismatch between the information provided by the authorities and the actual situation. The EU intends to raise again the issue of the UN Special Rapporteur's visit to the country if the announcement to extend an invitation is not followed up.

The EU is at present analysing the new Decree 92 (‘Specific provisions and measures for the implementation of the Ordinance on Belief and Religion’), which shall also be discussed at the next session of the enhanced Human Rights Dialogue, tentatively scheduled for October 2013.

OJ C 361 E, 11/12/2013
Last updated: 7 May 2013Legal notice