Campaign against religious persecution in Vietnam
From: Lan Quoc Nguyen, Esq.
I would like to ask you to cut & paste or modify the sample letter attached below to ask Pres. Clinton to appoint its three members to the International Religious Freedom so that the Commission can proceed start working on the report on religious persecution worldwide, including Vietnam. The activities of this Commission is more important in the Vietnam's case because Vietnam has been tightenting up its control of religious practices in the country while at the same time it is asking the U.S. to grant economic favors such as Jackson- Vanik waivers, bilateral trade agreements and most favorit nation (MFN) status.
Our campaign focus on religious persecution at this time is critical in ensuring that the Clinton Administration will consider linking tradinng policies with religious persecution or human rights practices in general. We can also take advantage of the US-China tension at this time over the trading/ human rights/ nuclear secrets theft issues in a hope that Vietnam would be considered unfavorably when the economic policies toward these both countries come up for review by Congress later in June.
It may be best if you can customize this letter to reflect your personal circumstances or use the letters from your organizations. Remember, each letter, when carefully prepared, will add to the pressure we're trying to assert on the White House from all sides.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
NOTE from VNHRNet: you can email to the President at the address http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Mail/html/Mail_President.html
June 1, 1999
Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
Attention: Hon. Eric Schwartz, Special Assistant to the President
Dear President Clinton:
You signed the International Religious Freedom Act into law more than six months ago. The law mandates that within four months of enactment, Congress and the President shall name individuals to the Commission on International Religious Freedom created by the bill. Congress has made its appointments. The Commission's first report on the condition of religious freedom around the world is due May 1st.
We understand that you are yet to announce your selection on the remaining three appointments. Until these Presidential appointments are made, the commission cannot begin its work.
Meanwhile religious repression continues in many parts of the world, including Vietnam. The Vietnamese government just issued a decree to further tighten its grip on religious activities. Religious leaders of independent Churches continue to be imprisoned or placed under house arrest. Tens of thousands of church properties continue to be confiscated by the authorities. Churches are even banned from charity work such as providing relief to flood victims.
As Vietnamese-Americans, we therefore urge you to make your appointments as soon as possible. There is no reason to further delay the work of this commission and thereby the full implementation of the law.
We look forward to your commitment and cooperation in the fight for religious freedom worldwide.