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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        26  February 2011

Vietnam reviews religious policies

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Providing a framework for religious activities is of great significance as it would contribute to economic development and social stability.

The making of such a framework should be based on the specific characteristics of each religion and religious followers should be encouraged to take part in productive social activities rather than in adverse actions against authorities.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said this at a conference held yesterday in Hanoi to review state management of religion in 2010 and set out the working plan for this year.

Nhan said in addition to simply recognising existing religious organisations, relevant agencies should determine the minimum requirements in order to become a recognised organisation. "The relevant agencies must be able to predict the number of religious organisations to be recognised according to the annual plan," he said.

He pointed out the shortcomings of the management to date, including the lack of co-operation among agencies, the incomplete set of relevant laws, and the limited legal support for religious workers.

Nhan asked local authorities to hold regular meetings with religious dignitaries. "During the first quarter, we should immediately hold meetings with religious leaders to help them stay informed about the nation's current situation and the Government's measures to stabilise the economy and social security as well as the Party and State's policies," he said. Nguyen Thanh Xuan, deputy head of the Government's Committee for Religious Affairs, said 2010 was an eventful year for the religious community in Viet Nam. Many festivals were held, leaving positive impacts on the spiritual life of the people and on the public opinion of religion both domestically and internationally.

Last year, more than 18,700 religious dignitaries and followers received training, 2,800 of them graduated from the training courses.

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