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10 June 2003


by Maurizio Turco (NI), Emma Bonino (NI), Marco Pannella (NI), Marco Cappato (NI), Benedetto Della Vedova (NI), Gianfranco Dell'Alba (NI) and Olivier Dupuis (NI)

to the Commission

  Subject: Means of putting an end to violations of religious freedom

 Answer in writing 

In May 2003 the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a US federal government agency, published its annual report on religious freedom in the world, which includes the following points:


- Serious concerns are expressed about the situation in the Russian Federation, including possible interference by the Russian Orthodox Church in national politics, strict control of religious practice among Russian citizens by the State and the refusal to grant visas to clergy and religious workers.


- The situation in the People's Republic of China is characterised by the regular internment, torture and detention of Chinese citizens owing to their religious beliefs, as well as strict surveillance of religious activities in Tibet.


- In Laos, government officials are involved in systematic violation of religious freedom, which takes the form of imprisonment and forced conversions.


- In Vietnam, religious dissidents are jailed and there has been a campaign of forced conversions of  Vietnamese religious minorities in the north-western provinces and the central highlands inhabited by the 'Montagnard' communities. In view of the seriousness of violations the USCIRF suggests halting aid for projects other that humanitarian actions until the Vietnamese authorities undertake to respect religious freedom.


Will the Commission state:


-  whether it is aware of the serious and systematic violation of religious freedom in Russia, China, Laos and Vietnam?


- whether it intends to accept the USCIRF's suggestion that aid for projects other than humanitarian actions be halted until the Vietnamese authorities undertake to respect religious freedom?


- whether it considers that the suspension of all aid other than humanitarian aid until religious freedom is respected can act as an effective deterrent or what could be used as an alternative instrument?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 78 E, 27/03/2004
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