Hearings & Briefings

Hearing on the Persecution of Religious and Indigenous Communities in Vietnam

Hearing Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:00 PM HVC 210

This hearing will take place at 2:00 PM on 3/26/2014, in HVC 210.
The hearing is open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the media and the interested public.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
2:00 PM
HVC 210
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the persecution of religious and indigenous communities in Vietnam.

In the 1970s, following the emergence of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under the Communist Party of Vietnam, the government disbanded the leadership of all independent-minded religious organizations; and the country’s Communist cadres quickly appointed new leaders of these organizations. Further, as stipulated by its 2004 Ordinance on Religion and Belief, Vietnam’s government requires all religious organizations to be registered and their activities pre-approved. Organizations that refuse to register or whose registration applications have been denied risk having their activities deemed illegal and expose their leaders and followers to arrest and harassment. More recently, the 2013 Government Decree 92/2012/ND-CP banned all religious, cultural and traditional activities – even when conducted in private homes – unless they are registered, pre-approved, or officiated by a government entity.

In addition, the government’s policies of land appropriation, population displacement and prohibition of indigenous languages in schools have altered the identities of its indigenous peoples and weakened their cultural heritage. Today, there is virtually no authentic representation of indigenous peoples in the government of Vietnam.

This hearing will focus on Vietnam’s persecution and repression of faith and indigenous communities, and also examine the U.S. government’s response to these human rights abuses. Notably, for the first time, the Commission hearing will feature prominent activists testifying directly from Vietnam. These brave individuals will provide first-hand accounts of the abuses suffered by their respective communities.
Panel I:
• Mr. Eric P. Schwartz, Commissioner, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Panel II:
• Father Phan Van Loi, Editor-in-Chief of "Freedom of Speech" and Co-Founder of the Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience
• Sub-dignitary Nguyen Bach Phung, Clergy member of an independent Cao Dai Sect
• Attorney Yunie Hong, Director of Policy Advocacy, Hmong National Development
• Mr. Rong Nay, Executive Director, Montagnard Human Rights Organization

*Witness list subject to change
The hearing will be streaming live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hclive17

For any questions, please contact the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at 202-225-3599 or tlhrc@mail.house.gov

James P. McGovern
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Frank R. Wolf
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Contact the Commission

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
4150 O'Neill Federal Building
200 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20515
United States of America

Phone: +1 (202) 225-3599
Fax: +1 (202) 226-5887


The Commission seeks to make its events, meetings and hearings accessible to persons with disabilities.

If you are in need of special accommodations, please call (202) 225-3599 at least four business days in advance or whenever practicable.

Questions with regard to special accommodations in general (including availability of Commission materials in alternative formats and assistive listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.) may be directed to the Commission.

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