December 16, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) issued the following statement in support of listing Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern.”
Madam Speaker, I rise to express my support for H. Res. 20, calling on the State Department to list the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as a "Country of Particular Concern" with respect to religious freedom.
The State Department removed Vietnam from the CPC list in 2006, and since then, the human rights situation in that country has deteriorated significantly. After a brief improvement while Vietnam was seeking membership in the World Trade Organization, the Vietnamese government returned to its former ways – intimidation and repression of basic human freedoms. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) recently released annual report, “The government of Vietnam continues to control government-approved religious communities, severely restrict independent religious practice, and repress individuals and groups viewed as challenging political authority.”
Vietnam remains a severe violator of religious freedoms, and the CPC designation is a potentially powerful tool that should be used to highlight this shortcoming and encourage action. USCIRF has recommended CPC status for Vietnam every year since 2001, and continues to do so this year, advising that “[g]iven these ongoing and serious violations, the uneven pace of religious freedom progress after the CPC designation was lifted, the continued detention of prisoners of concern, and new evidence of severe religious freedom abuses, USCIRF again recommends that Vietnam be designated as a CPC in 2010.”
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and I strongly urge the State Department to follow the advice of the Commission and redesignate Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern.