10/19/2013, 00.00
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Buddhists and Christians denounce Hanoi for using law to control religions

Joint document by leaders of major religions in Vietnam , against the limitations to freedom posed by the communist government. The target the 2004 Norm on Religions and the implementation of 2012 Decree. The separation between state and religion is the basis for a democratic country , which must ensure "freedom" and "independence" in religious practice .

Hanoi ( AsiaNews) - Far from being "legal means" to ensure the religious freedom, the norms adopted in recent years by the Communist government in matters of worship have become an instrument of repression , subordination and submission to the State of the faithful and entire communities. This is highlighted in a Joint Declaration by Vietnamese Religious Leaders - drawn up in early October and published by Eglise d'Asie ( EDA ) - which strongly criticizes the Norm on Religions in force since 2004 and its implementation of Decree number 92 issued in 2012 . The text was drawn up and signed by a group formed by Hao Hao Buddhists , Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam , members of cadaoismo , Protestant pastors and Catholic priests . It is directed to government officials in Hanoi , the Parliament, Vietnamese personalities at home and abroad , as well as the major international organizations in defense of human rights.

The petitioners through the document - prepared in a timely and rigorous manner - show how the two norms, far from defending religious freedom, have proved "tools" in the hands of the state and the Communist Party to control the faithful and the practice of worship . A criticism already expressed on several occasions in the past year by both the Buddhist movement and by members of the Vietnamese Catholic Church .

For the religious leaders the Party and the communist regime consider religion and spirituality "enemy number one" and still continue to fight it, with "violence " or with laws and regulations of an administrative and penal nature. An element that can be found in Vietnam , in the laws of 2004 and 2012 in terms of religious practice .

In particular, the latest provisions are binding on the faithful and the community in terms of legal status, staff , activities, goods and foreign relations . Each alleged violation is punished by force, as has happened several times in the recent past to Buddhist organizations or Protestant and Catholic groups, with arrests, abductions , forced detentions , or defamatory press campaigns (see the attack in recent weeks on the diocese of Vinh) .

The government wants to use the Church and religious organizations as a "tool" in the service of the regime or to hide the problems and inadequacies that characterize Vietnamese society . And also, add religious leaders , to prevent a real liberation of religion from the state, one of the conditions necessary for the construction of " a true democratic nation ." The right to religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution , therefore " special laws " relating to worship as is the case today are not eligible. That is why, concludes the document , a real "freedom" and "independence" of activities is needed as well as the opportunity to evangelize without constraints and restrictions, full ownership of all property and the "restitution" of illegally seized "material and spiritual goods ". This would also include those who have been arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for fighting " for religious freedom , democracy and human rights."



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