Wednesday, February 09, 2005

USCIRF urges action on Vietnam

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urged specific action be taken on Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Eritrea, in a letter from its chair Preeta Bansal to Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice. Vietnam has been designated by the U.S. as a "country of particular concern" for its violations of religious freedom, and under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), Sec. Rice is required to take specific policy actions by March 15. Bansal urged that the State Dept. identify those Vietnamese agencies and officials responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom and "vigorously enforce section 604 of IRFA with respect to Vietnam, rendering inadmissable for entry into the United States any Vietnamese government official who was responsible for or directly carried out such violations." She also requested the State Dept. to dedicate at least $1 million for the next two fiscal years, to directly promote religious freedom and other human rights in Vietnam. (USCIRF press release Feb. 7).


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