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    » 11/15/2012, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Catholic activists warn of "alarming" human rights violations in Vietnam



    A Commission for Justice and Peace document, sent to the bishops' conference, highlights an emerging deterioration that affect politics, society and finance. Wrongful convictions of innocent people, arbitrary laws, violence to resolve conflict and corruption are just some of the problems. The Church's task is to promote peace in Christ in guarantee of religious freedom.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The situation of human rights and individual freedoms, the process of democratization of the country, far from having improved seem to continuously worsen and are affecting political, economic and financial, relations with foreign countries and within the same society. These are the findings from a new report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Vietnamese Catholic Church, recently sent to the Vietnamese bishops' conference. Sent to the prelates November 1 last year, this new document - even more "critical" of the government and authorities than the first "comments" published May 15, 2012 - was republished yesterday by Eglise d'Asie. It paints an "alarming" picture, confirmed by some specific events: the conviction of three young Vinh Christians, the trial of three famous bloggers, the arrest of the head of the Commercial Bank of Asia and the detention of two famous musicians, deemed responsible for "anti-government propaganda."

    The Catholic activists' document critically analyzes the conception of man in Vietnamese society today, discusses national education, denounces widespread corruption and major human rights violations. It is also a response to the Pastoral Letter for the Year of Faith and aims to present "some aspects of society," which are a source of "concern for public opinion."

    The first point to emerge is "wrongful convictions" against innocent people or people who just want to promote democracy in the country. The Justice and Peace members stressed that "law enforcement is not strict", but it is "arbitrary" and violates not only domestic laws, but also "the declarations and international treaties that Vietnam has committed itself to observe" . Compared to the report published last May, the reality "is worse", just as the phenomenon of arbitrary seizures of property and land by the authorities continues.

    In addition, the government uses violence to settle "civil conflicts", while corruption has become endemic in the the economy "benefiting a privileged group" to the detriment of the rest of the population. Poverty and food crises are worsening as is the industrial crisis to the extent that since the beginning of the year more than 40 thousand have been forced to close. Vietnam remains among the "least transparent" nations in the world and also sees its "national sovereignty" in danger, threatened by long-standing conflicts with Beijing over territorial claims in the South China Sea. Most of the time, denounce the Catholic activists, "agreements" or "pacts" are signed between the authorities of the two countries unbeknownst to the people, despite the negative consequences of these so called "bonds of friendship" that are signed in the economic and political fields.

    Then there are violations of human dignity, in a nation that considers the person the as an "instrument". A factor compounded by the fact that the educational system lags behind other countries and "badly-directed" that churns out people "at the service" of the authorities to achieve its "political purposes." There is also the lack of "freedom of expression", given that "the media is owned by the state" and new media, including the Internet, are censored, bloggers arrested, sources and information - often - can not be verified.

    The last sad note regards "freedom of religion" guaranteed on paper, but applied and granted "in an absolutely arbitrary manner." There are "significant phenomena and troubling problems," before which Catholics "can not remain indifferent to the situation of their country." An effort in the direction of peace "is an essential element of the mission of the Church", the Catholic activists conclude, because it is a direct witness "to the work of Christ in the world."

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    See also

    08/10/2010 VIETNAM
    Vietnamese church launches first ever Justice and Peace Commission
    The decision was announced today during the eleventh meeting of the Conference of Bishops. The Commission, the first since the advent of communist rule, will work with bishops and diocesan organizations to defend human rights and religious freedom.

    27/06/2012 VIETNAM
    Bishop of Kontum denounces the Vietnamese authorities for seizing religious buildings
    In a letter the prelate calls for "fairness and justice" and defends the "feelings of the people." Issue at stake, three properties "borrowed" by the authorities and never returned. For Msgr. Michael Hoang Duc Oanh religious freedom is also a matter of "application of the law" and the principles of "truth, justice and love."

    16/09/2013 HONG KONG
    Hong Kong , the Church appeals to the UN: "An end to religious repression in China"
    The Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese has sent a document to the Committee which is set to assess Beijing’s progress in the area of religious freedom . The text highlights distortions of the truth and egregious violations, illicit episcopal ordinations as well as the torture and disappearance of clergy faithful to the Pope. A call on China to "stop these activities directed against its own people."

    14/07/2009 PAKISTAN
    Despite threats from the Taliban, we are working for the good of the country, Pakistani Catholic say
    Religious minorities, including the Christian community, are victims of a campaign of intimidation. Fundamentalists want to force conversion and extort money. The executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church highlights its commitment to the population and to the topmost principle of the “separation of state and religion.”

    05/06/2008 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Church urges government to uphold the constitution against extremism
    In a press statement issued by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, Church leaders call on the government to amend the constitution to fight discrimination and religious intolerance. They also express support for the judges sacked by Musharraf.



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