They have also joined hands with the State in social welfare, and with authorities and people in national construction and defense.

The good values of religions were reaffirmed during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as large numbers of religious dignitaries and followers responded to the call of all-level authorities, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and their religious organizations to work in COVID-19 quarantine centers and hospitals – the forefront of the combat.

Religious organizations and the majority of religious followers in Vietnam have played an active role in socio-economic development.

During the pandemic’s peak, more than 3,000 religious volunteers went to pandemic hot spots, of whom nearly 2,000 were deployed to COVID-19 treatment hospitals and centers in Ho Chi Minh City, and Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria - Vung Tau and Long An provinces in the southern region.

Between July 22, 2021 to April 7 this year, 747 Catholic volunteers, including 26 priests, worked at 10 hospitals.

Religious organizations have also actively engaged in the political and social life.

Many prestigious religious dignitaries have been elected to bodies and political-social organizations at both central and local levels.

According to the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, five religious dignitaries are deputies of the 15th National Assembly, 88 religious dignitaries and 35 religious followers are incumbent deputies of provincial People’s Councils, 225 dignitaries, monks and nuns and 246 followers are deputies at district People’s Councils.

This has affirmed the great contribution of religions organizations to the nation and the building of a state of the people, for the people and by the people.

Speaking at a recent conference honoring religious organizations with contribution to national construction and defense, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stressed that the religious people are an integral part of the Vietnamese nation and the great national unity bloc. Religions and beliefs form an inseparable part of the cultural and spiritual life in Vietnam, he said, noting that although each religion and belief have their own cultural identities, they all look towards values of truth, goodness and beauty.

Vietnam has actively participated in the annual dialogues on democracy, human rights and religions with the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.), and has successfully defended the national report at the Third-Cycle Universal Periodical Review (UPR) and the national report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

However, the U.S. has recently included Vietnam into the special watch list on religious freedom based on inaccurate information.

The U.S.’s decision is based on unobjective assessments and inaccurate information about the situation of freedom of religion and belief in Vietnam, Foreign Ministry deputy spokeswoman Pham Thu Hang said at the ministry’s regular press briefing on December 15.

Vietnam stands ready to discuss with the U.S. side issues of common concern in the spirit of openness, candidness and mutual respect, contributing to strengthening the comprehensive partnership between the two countries, Hang stated.

She again reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of ensuring human rights as well as the freedom of religion and belief, which are enshrined in the Constitution 2013 and the domestic legal system, and have been ensured and respected in reality. 

The country’s efforts and achievements in this regard have been widely acknowledged by the international community, she said.

Notably, Vietnam’s election to the U.N. Human Rights Council for the second time for the 2023-2025 tenure, (the first time in the 2014-2016 term), has also reflected the international community's recognition and confidence in the Vietnamese Government’s efforts in ensuring human rights.

The election has demonstrated that Vietnam has been fulfilling international commitments to human rights that the country has signed or approved. It is also the most persuasive evidence refuting false allegations of hostile forces that always attempt to deny and distort the human rights situation in Vietnam.

Source: VNA