Laos government urges Christians to leave

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Laos christians1Despite constitutional protections, the small minority that makes up Christians in Laos are faced with either giving up their religion or being deported out of the country.

More than half of the practicing Christians in the country don’t have access to a church where they can pray. Instead, Christians hold their bible teachings behind closed doors in small “house services” where they gather to worship.

On September 6, 2013, in the village of Nongdaeng in western Laos, 11 Christian families who make up around 50 people were given the ultimatum of either renouncing their religion or face deportation. On August 30, the representatives from each of the 11 families were summoned by civil authorities in the province of Burikhamai. The government officials of the Department of Religious Affairs told the Christian families that they were ordered to “abandon the religion of Western foreign power, which is disruptive to the nation of Laos”, and that they had three days to recant.

Yet, the families did not give in. Urging that they are protected under the rights of the constitution of Laos to practice their faith freely, the families gathered on September 1 for a liturgical service in one of their homes.

The Christians in Laos are not alone. The Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom, a United Nations body, insisted that the Lao government allow the people of Nongdaeng to worship and practice their Christian faith. The UN organisaiton also told the government that they should impose sanctions on the officials who ordered the “renunciation and eviction from the village”, citing that what they’ve done is “completely illegal.”

Christians aren’t the only ones who suffered religious persecution under the government. In the province of Bolikhamsai, two Buddhist monks were arrested for having been ordained without official government authorisation.

The communist nation of Laos holds a population of 6.6 million, 67 per cent of which are Buddhist, and 2 per cent making up the Christian minority. Most of the rest, mainly people from minority groups, is practising some sort of animism.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Despite constitutional protections, the small minority that makes up Christians in Laos are faced with either giving up their religion or being deported out of the country.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Laos christians1Despite constitutional protections, the small minority that makes up Christians in Laos are faced with either giving up their religion or being deported out of the country.

More than half of the practicing Christians in the country don’t have access to a church where they can pray. Instead, Christians hold their bible teachings behind closed doors in small “house services” where they gather to worship.

On September 6, 2013, in the village of Nongdaeng in western Laos, 11 Christian families who make up around 50 people were given the ultimatum of either renouncing their religion or face deportation. On August 30, the representatives from each of the 11 families were summoned by civil authorities in the province of Burikhamai. The government officials of the Department of Religious Affairs told the Christian families that they were ordered to “abandon the religion of Western foreign power, which is disruptive to the nation of Laos”, and that they had three days to recant.

Yet, the families did not give in. Urging that they are protected under the rights of the constitution of Laos to practice their faith freely, the families gathered on September 1 for a liturgical service in one of their homes.

The Christians in Laos are not alone. The Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom, a United Nations body, insisted that the Lao government allow the people of Nongdaeng to worship and practice their Christian faith. The UN organisaiton also told the government that they should impose sanctions on the officials who ordered the “renunciation and eviction from the village”, citing that what they’ve done is “completely illegal.”

Christians aren’t the only ones who suffered religious persecution under the government. In the province of Bolikhamsai, two Buddhist monks were arrested for having been ordained without official government authorisation.

The communist nation of Laos holds a population of 6.6 million, 67 per cent of which are Buddhist, and 2 per cent making up the Christian minority. Most of the rest, mainly people from minority groups, is practising some sort of animism.

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