BigNews.Biz - Jun 14,2010 - (From PoliticalNews.me)
Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) commended the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for recommending Vietnam as a "Country of Particular Concern" (CPC) for severe violations of religious freedom in its recently released annual report. The USCIRF, a congressionally created organization that advises the State Department in matters of religious freedom, has designated Vietnam as a CPC every year since 2001.
"Finding that the one-party Communist government continues to ‘severely restrict independent religious practice,’ I am glad that the USCIRF continues to put pressure on Hanoi. U.S. Department of State: Please listen!" said Royce.
Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has designated countries that "engage in or tolerate particularly severe violations of religious freedom," as "Countries of Particular Concern." This annual designation puts the violations of specific countries on record, making it a significant diplomatic tool for advancing human rights.
Due to Vietnam's egregious human rights violations, the State Department had previously listed it as one of these countries from 2004-2006. In 2006, however, the State Department removed Vietnam from this annual list.
"As the current state of human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam is deplorable, the State Department’s decision to remove Vietnam from the CPC list was extraordinarily short-sighted. When Vietnam was placed on the CPC list, we saw some positive changes. Unfortunately, when they were prematurely released in 2006, Vietnam ramped up its persecution," said Royce.
As the USCIRF report finds, over the past two years, the Communist government "has moved decisively to repress any perceived challenges to its authority." This is evident in the continued detention of hundreds of Montagnard Protestants, and dozens of other religious leaders, including the leader of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam, the Venerable Thich Quang Do. Many who opposed restrictions on religion were beaten, sometimes with electric batons.
To help bring attention to this matter, Royce introduced H.Res.20, a resolution calling on the State Department to relist Vietnam as a CPC. Language from this resolution was adopted by a bill to provide funding for the State Department, and was passed out of the House
Royce is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and is an active member of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam.