Letter to PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc

October 26, 2020


The Honorable Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Prime Minister

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

No. 01 Hoang Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi


Dear Prime Minister,


The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc the world over. We, the undersigned, understand and recognize your concern and responsibility as Prime Minister when you decreed the 15-day society-wide self-quarantine and subsequent measures.


We would like to refer to the letter signed by 30 religious communities and 200 individuals in Vietnam which was originally sent to you on April 6, 2020 and emphasize the valuable remarks and suggestions it contains.


The pandemic does not spare anyone. Therefore, combating it requires the involvement of everyone and all sectors in society. Any form of monopoly or discrimination would diminish the efficacy of the fight against the pandemic.


With that in mind, we respectfully offer the following inputs for your consideration so as to maximize the efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic:


  1. Quickly resolve the situation of Hmong, Montagnard and many clergy members who have not been issued household registration or citizenship ID; urgently communicate to government authorities at the provincial, district and local levels a policy of absolute non-discrimination regarding access to medical services and social benefits.

  2. Release prisoners, particularly the ones posing no risk to society such as those who defended human rights, those who exercised their freedom of expression or those who advocated environmental protection. Many of the measures that your government is implementing to prevent the spread of the pandemic cannot be implemented in a prison’s crowded environment. Many governments have already released prisoners to decrease the risk of infection.

  3. Welcome and encourage the contributions of all social sectors, including religious organizations and communities that are not or not yet legally recognized. Facing the pandemic, mobilizing the totality of resources in society is urgent and critical. Even if a group or a community of citizens is excluded or marginalized, the total capacity of society would diminish, and the risk factor would increase.

We applaud the decision of many religious communities, regardless of their legal status, to join with the rest of civil society and with the government in the campaign to fight the pandemic with their best intention and according to their own capacity.


Signed by,


The Baroness Cox

House of Lords, United Kingdom


Sammy Wilson

Member of Parliament, United Kingdom


The Lord Hylton

House of Lords, United Kingdom


Jim Shannon

Member of Parliament, United Kingdom


The Lord Rennard, MBE

House of Lords, United Kingdom


The Lord Suri

House of Lords, United Kingdom


Paul Girvan

Member of Parliament, United Kingdom


Professor The Lord Alton

House of Lords, United Kingdom


Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett

President, Lantos Foundation

Past Chair, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, USA


Kristina Arriaga

CEO, Intrinsic

Former Vice Chair, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, USA


Dr Chin-Huat Wong

Political Scientist, Malaysia


Andrew Khoo

Advocate and Solicitor, High Court of Malaya in Malaysia

Former Co-Chair, Bar Council Malaysia Human Rights Committee (2009-2018)


Timothy Finlayson Joel

Lawyer and Advocate, Malaysia


GK Ganesan Kasinathan

International Commercial Arbitrator, Legal Strategist, Malaysia


Meera Samanther

Vice President

Association of Women Lawyers, Malaysia


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt

Chair of Human Rights and Human Rights Politics

Institute for Political Science

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief


Ján Figeľ

Former Special Envoy for Promotion of FoRB outside the EU


Gyde Jensen

Chair of the Human Rights Committee

The German Federal Parliament


Eugene Yapp

Director

Religious Freedom and Liberty Partnership in Malaysia


Debbie Stothard

Coordinator/Founder

ALTSEAN, Malaysia


Khin Omar

Chair Person of Advisory Board

Progressive Voice, Myanmar


Laura van Waas and Amal de Chickera

Co-Directors

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, The Netherlands


Edward Charles Brown

Secretary General

Stefanus Alliance International, Norway


Benedict Rogers

East Asia Team Leader

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, United Kingdom


Dr. Uziel Santana

President

Brazilian Association of Christian Lawyers (ANAJURE)


Federal Deputy Eli Borges

PresidentParliamentarian Coalition of Religious Freedom, Refugees and Humanitarian Aid National, Congress of Brazil


Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang

CEO & PresidentBoat People SOS (BPSOS)

Laureate of 2011 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award


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