WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2014
This hearing will take place at 2:00 PM on 3/26/2014, in HVC 210.
The hearing is open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the media and the interested public.
DATE Wednesday, March 26, 2014
TIME 2:00 PM
LOCATION HVC 210
BACKGROUND Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the persecution of religious and indigenous communities in Vietnam.
In the 1970s, following the emergence of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under the Communist Party of Vietnam, the government disbanded the leadership of all independent-minded religious organizations; and the country’s Communist cadres quickly appointed new leaders of these organizations. Further, as stipulated by its 2004 Ordinance on Religion and Belief, Vietnam’s government requires all religious organizations to be registered and their activities pre-approved. Organizations that refuse to register or whose registration applications have been denied risk having their activities deemed illegal and expose their leaders and followers to arrest and harassment. More recently, the 2013 Government Decree 92/2012/ND-CP banned all religious, cultural and traditional activities – even when conducted in private homes – unless they are registered, pre-approved, or officiated by a government entity.
In addition, the government’s policies of land appropriation, population displacement and prohibition of indigenous languages in schools have altered the identities of its indigenous peoples and weakened their cultural heritage. Today, there is virtually no authentic representation of indigenous peoples in the government of Vietnam.
This hearing will focus on Vietnam’s persecution and repression of faith and indigenous communities, and also examine the U.S. government’s response to these human rights abuses. Notably, for the first time, the Commission hearing will feature prominent activists testifying directly from Vietnam. These brave individuals will provide first-hand accounts of the abuses suffered by their respective communities.
WITNESS LIST Panel I:
• Mr. Eric P. Schwartz, Commissioner, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
• Father Phan Van Loi, Editor-in-Chief of “Freedom of Speech” and Co-Founder of the Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience
• Sub-dignitary Nguyen Bach Phung, Clergy member of an independent Cao Dai Sect
• Attorney Yunie Hong, Director of Policy Advocacy, Hmong National Development
• Mr. Rong Nay, Executive Director, Montagnard Human Rights Organization
*Witness list subject to change
NOTEThe hearing will be streaming live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hclive17
For any questions, please contact the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at 202-225-3599 or firstname.lastname@example.org
James P. McGovern
Co-Chair, TLHRC Frank R. Wolf