The implementation of a prime ministerial directive on tasks regarding Protestantism in northwest Vietnam over the past ten years has helped stabilise the situation in the region and the country as a whole.

A conference reviewing the implementation of Directive No. 01/2005/CT-TTg on tasks regarding Protestantism, issued by then Prime Minister Phan Van Khai on February 4, 2005, was held in northwest Yen Bai province on July 24.

It was attended by officials of ministries, central agencies and 14 provinces covered by the Steering Committee for the Northwest Region.

A report at the function revealed that the 14 provinces, including central Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, house more than 1,300 Protestant groups with over 193,000 followers.

Participants said the ten-year implementation of the directive has proved that related Party guidelines and State policies regarding Protestantism are righteous, timely and in line with the specific context in the northwest, contributing to regional stability.

The directive has stimulated Protestants’ engagement in poverty elimination activities, improved their relationship with secular communities and promoted local State agencies’ management of religious affairs.

Attending officials agreed on the need to continue encouraging local residents to comply with Party guidelines and State policies and laws, especially those concerning socio-economic development.

Regional provinces will ask the Party and State to support the increase of Party membership among Protestants, especially the ethnic H’Mong people. They will also consider the establishment of boards for religious affairs under the provincial People’s Committees to improve management of the issue.

Local authorities will strictly punish schemes and actions that take advantage of religious matters to mar national solidarity while working harder to provide jobs, reduce poverty and raise awareness of ethnics in general and Protestants in particular, the officials added.-VNA