Home / News / Press Review / AFP : US diplomats denied access to religious groups in Vietnam

AFP : US diplomats denied access to religious groups in Vietnam

Download PDF


AFP - Agence France Presse - http://www.afp.com Agence France Presse


WASHINGTON, April 6, 2003 (AFP) – US Embassy staff in Vietnam have been prevented from meeting with representatives of religious groups due to apparent police action, the State Department said.

The diplomats were denied access particularly to Thich Thien Hanh from the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, said Brenda Greenberg, a US State Department spokeswoman.

She said that during a recent trip to the northern ancient Vietnamese city of Hue, “US embassy and consulate general officers were unable to meet with representatives of religious groups as a result of apparent police action.

“The US government places a high priority on promoting religious freedom and maintains contacts with a large number of religious leaders and practitioners throughout Vietnam,” she said.

US diplomats met with Thich Thien Hanh as recently as January, she said.

Last week, Washington had urged the Vietnamese government to grant UN refugee officials access to a Buddhist dissident jailed for 20 months in Vietnam for undermining internal security.

US officials were able to speak with Pham Van Tuong, who was found guilty March 12 in a trial in Ho Chi Minh City which reportedly lasted less than an hour.

The UN refugee agency is holding talks with Vietnamese authorities on Tuong, who has refugee status, and is hopeful it could secure his resettlement.

The 50-year-old Tuong is a member of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, which was outlawed in 1981 after it refused to come under the control of the ruling Communist Party.

Hanoi has been the target of international criticism in recent months over a renewed crackdown on the church.

Check Also

EU–Vietnam 8th Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels: Interview with Maya Kocijancic & Umberto Gambini

On Monday 4th March 2019, the European Union and Vietnam held their annual human rights …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *