U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Addresses Religious Freedom Challenges in Vietnam

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Addresses Religious Freedom Challenges in Vietnam
Photo: USCIRF.gov

In a pivotal move to shed light on the state of religious freedom in Vietnam and identify potential avenues of cooperation, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will hold a virtual hearing on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. ET. "Vietnam: Challenges and Opportunities for Religious Freedom" aims to address developments in Vietnam and to discuss how the U.S. government can collaborate with its Vietnamese counterparts to tackle religious freedom violations.

Over the past decade, relations between the United States and Vietnam have improved significantly, coinciding with some advancements in religious freedom conditions within Vietnam. However, despite these positive strides, USCIRF has observed a disturbing rise in instances of forced renunciation of faith and the intimidation, detention, and imprisonment of religious activists and leaders in the country. Notably, the inconsistent implementation of the 2018 Law on Belief and Religion, particularly at the local level and among minority faith communities, continues to impede the full realization of religious freedom in Vietnam. During USCIRF's visit to Vietnam in May, Vietnamese officials indicated that the government was in the process of updating the 2018 Law and drafting two implementing decrees for its execution.

In its recently released 2023 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended designating Vietnam as a "Country of Particular Concern" (CPC) due to its engagement in egregious, ongoing, and systematic violations of religious freedom. This designation came after the U.S. Department of State placed Vietnam on its Special Watch List in November 2022, marking Vietnam's first religious freedom designation since it was designated a CPC in 2005.

The forthcoming hearing will feature testimonies from witnesses who will shed light on religious freedom violations in Vietnam, drawing from their first-hand experiences of escaping persecution due to their religious beliefs. Additionally, the hearing will explore policy options for the U.S. government to engage meaningfully with Vietnam's government and advocate for greater religious freedom for the Vietnamese people.

Key Participants:

Opening Remarks:

  • Abraham Cooper, chair, USCIRF
  • Frederick A. Davie, vice chair, USCIRF
  • Eric Ueland, commissioner, USCIRF


  • Quỳnh-Vi Trần, Editor-in-Chief and Journalist, The Vietnamese Magazine
  • Dr. Thang Nguyen, CEO and president, Boat People SOS (BPSOS)
  • Venerable Truong Thach Dhammo, Buddhist monk
  • Dr. Quoc-Hung (David) Tran, director of communications for the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, and head of its Office of External Affairs

Witness Biographies:

The virtual hearing is open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. Media members are encouraged to register online and can contact media@uscirf.gov for inquiries or to arrange interviews. The video recording of the hearing will be made available on the Commission's website. For further information, please contact Danielle Ashbahian at dashbahian@uscirf.gov or call (202) 702-2778.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to The Vietnamese Magazine.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.