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UN expert on religious freedom visiting Viet Nam

GENEVA (17 July 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt, will visit Viet Nam from 21 to 31 July 2014 to assess the situation in the country regarding the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

“I look forward to learning more about the diversity of religions and beliefs in Viet Nam,” Mr. Bielefeldt said. “It will be an opportunity for me to exchange ideas with the Government, understand better how it protects and promotes the freedom of religion or belief and offer my expertise in relevant issues concerning the right to freedom of religion or belief.”

The work of the Special Rapporteur, as mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, also requires him to identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and present specific recommendations to overcome them.

During this eleven-day mission, Mr. Bielefeldt will meet with various government officials and local authorities in the country involved in freedom of religion or belief issues. His visit will also include meetings with representatives of religious or belief communities, civil society organizations and the UN.

The expert will share with the media his preliminary findings during a press conference on 31 July 2014, at 12:00 noon in the Rose Conference Room at UNDP Compound, 72 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem Dist, Ha Noi.

Following his visit, the Special Rapporteur will present a report containing his conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council at a future session in 2015.

Heiner Bielefeldt (Germany) assumed his mandate on 1 August 2010. As Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, he is independent from any government, and acts in his individual capacity. Mr. Bielefeldt is Professor of Human Rights and Human Rights Politics at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. From 2003 to 2009, he was Director of Germany’s National Human Rights Institution. The Special Rapporteur’s research interests include various interdisciplinary facets of human rights theory and practice, with a focus on freedom of religion or belief. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomReligion/Pages/FreedomReligionIndex.aspx

An e-Digest on Freedom of Religion or Belief – 25 years of thought by four UN Special Rapporteurs (download your copy): http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Religion/RapporteursDigestFreedomReligionBelief.pdf

Check the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ReligionOrBelief.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Viet Nam:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/VNIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact or Chian Yew Lim (+ 41 79 201 0119 / clim@ohchr.org) or write to freedomofreligion@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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