The Ministry of Home Affairs is working on a draft law on belief and religion, specifying rights and obligations of followers of belief and religion, religious organizations and foreigners residing and lawfully conducting belief- and religion-related activities in Vietnam; and responsibilities of state agencies, organizations and individuals in exercising and protecting the right to freedom of belief and religion.
Fishermen celebrate Nghinh Ong (Whale Worshiping) festival in Ca Mau province__Photo: The Anh/VNA
The draft law, which has 71 articles arranged in 12 chapters, affirms that everyone has the right to freedom of belief and religion and the right to follow or not to follow any religion. The State would respect and protect the right to freedom of belief and religion. No one may infringe upon this freedom.
Believers and followers would be free to express their faith, conduct religious practices at their families and lawful worship institutions, participate in belief and religious activities, festivals and rituals, and learn religious tenets.
The draft law goes on to stipulate that all religions would be equal before law. The State would guarantee the right to conduct belief and religious activities in accordance with law and preserve and promote fine cultural and ethical values of belief and religion.
Organizations and individuals would be banned from practicing discrimination on the grounds of belief or religion; forcing others to follow or give up their faith in belief and religion; outraging the faith of followers of lawfully recognized religions; and obstructing organizations and individuals in the participation in or practice of lawful belief or religious activities.
While guaranteeing the right to freedom of belief and religion, the draft law prohibits the abuse of this freedom to incite violence or propagate wars in order to undermine peace, independence and territorial integrity of Vietnam; conduct propaganda in contravention of the Vietnamese State’s laws and policies, sabotage national solidarity, drive a wedge between people and religions; infringe upon national security, social order, safety and ethics and community health; cause harms to others’ life, health, honor, dignity and property; obstruct people’s exercise of their rights and performance of their obligations; offend the images of famous people and national heroes; and conduct self-seeking activities.
Those who are serving imprisonment sentences or being placed under surveillance in accordance with law would not be allowed to preside over religious rituals or belief festivals, carry on missionary work, preach and manage religious organizations.-