Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072
Washington, DC – Representative Lofgren hails passage of H.Res. 427, a resolution introduced by the members of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam (CCV), which acknowledges the leadership of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and the urgent need for religious freedom and related human rights in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
“I rise today with my colleagues in very strong support of this resolution. We cannot sit idly by as the Vietnamese government continues to oppress its people while hiding behind the veil of free trade,” Lofgren said. “As long as the people of Vietnam are oppressed, our government cannot relax even if there are strategic military interests in a strong relationship with Vietnam. Our interests must include human rights and now is the time to act.”
In early October, the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam held two peaceful assemblies in the Binh Dinh Province of Vietnam to discuss church affairs and elect new leadership following promises of a new era of “respect and understanding for religious freedom” by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Khai. In stark contrast to this promise of “respect and understanding”, Vietnamese Security Police intercepted the new UBCV leadership as they left Binh Dinh province. After a tense 10-hour standoff, 11 monks were arrested and placed under administrative detention. UBCV Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang, 86, and his Deputy, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Thich Quang Do, 75, are currently being held in total isolation.
“Unfortunately, I see no sign of change in Vietnam,” said Lofgren. “The Vietnamese government continues to systematically violate the human rights of its citizens through political, cultural, and religious oppression. The world is watching and we will not cease until we see improvements in Vietnam.”