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Despite persecution, the desire for religious freedom is growing


In a challenge to the authorities, an activist group, the Association for the Defence of Religious Liberty, releases a report on violations of religious freedom in 2014 and 2015 affecting Protestants, Catholics (Redemptorists, Sisters) and non-official Buddhists. The country’s proposed new religious legislation is criticised as a step backward in terms of freedom and rights.

Hanoi (AsiaNews/EDA) – Over the past two years, Vietnam’s Communist authorities have committed dozens of violations and attacks on religious freedom, at both the central and local level, affecting in various ways, the country’s Catholic, Protestant and non-official Buddhist communities, a recent report indicates.

The detailed study that challenges government censorship and repression is based on quarterly surveys made in 2014 and 2015 by an activist group, the ‘Association for the Defence of Religious Freedom, which includes members of civil society groups led by north Vietnamese Catholics.

According to the report’s findings released on 5 February, the one-party Communist Asian nation has only 14 different religions and 38 religious organisations.

Out of a population of 90 million, 24 million are religious believers with about 78,000 “dignitaries” (clergy) who live in more than 23,000 places of worship scattered across the country.

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