VN strives for equal treatment of religions, ethnic groups: top lawmak

Vietnam has adopted preferential policies to create conditions for ethnic minority groups to develop equally, helping to gradually bridge the development gaps with the rest of the population, said National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan yesterday.

National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attends the opening of the 137th  Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly’s general debate in Saint Petersburg, Russia yesterday. – VNA/VNS

National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attends the opening of the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly’s general debate in Saint Petersburg, Russia yesterday. – VNA/VNS

She was addressing the opening of the 137th  Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly’s general debate in Saint Petersburg, Russia, which was themed “Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue”.

The NA passed a Law on Belief and Religion in 2016, stipulating that everyone has the right to freedom of belief and religion, as well as the right to exercise religious practices and attend religious festivals.

Religious organisations in Vietnam have continued expanding their ties with international religions and religious organisations and many international religious events have been held in Vietnam, she said.

In order to promote cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue, Ngan proposed that IPU member countries build and complete legal frameworks to ensure equal rights for ethnic groups and religions before the law.

She also urged increased supervision over the implementation of Government policies protecting the rights and interests of members of all religions, ethnic and cultural groups to fair and equal treatment. 

Earlier on Saturday, during talks with IPU President Saber Chowdhury, Ngan said Việt Nam would soon implement the sustainable development goals (SDGs) self-assessment toolkit built by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Ngan spoke highly of Chowdhury’s contributions to the IPU during the 2014-2017 tenure and expressed her belief that the IPU will continue promoting its role and position as the world’s largest parliamentary cooperation organisation and supporting its member parliaments for peace, democracy, and sustainable development.

For his part, President Chowdhury lauded the Vietnamese NA’s dynamic and responsible participation in the IPU’s activities as well as its strict implementation of its resolutions.

Ngan affirmed that the Vietnamese parliament will include SDGs in the nation’s socio-economic development programmes in line with the Hanoi Declaration ratified at the IPU-132 held in Vietnam in 2015.

The NA Chairwoman handed a letter of invitation to President Chowdhury to attend the 26th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) to be hosted by Vietnam in January 2018.

VNS

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