Laos Officials Attempting to Exile Christian Converts for Practicing Faith

By Carrie Dedrick

Over two dozen Christian converts in the Natahall village of Laos could face expulsion from their village if government officials do not stop village authorities from violating the constitutional rights of the nation.

Eight Christians families in Savannakhet Province’s Phin District were told to abandon their religion or leave the village. The families received eviction notices on Dec. 2. When they refused to comply, the village chief announced that the Christians would be held accountable for any villager deaths that might occur due to angering the spirits.

The region is largely dominated by ancestor worship.

A source from Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) said, "The threats are very real...Officials are still intending to carry out the threats.”

On March 11, the village chief and area police called the families into a meeting ordering them once again to renounce their faith in Christ.

"We fought to get rid of the Americans, and now you are bringing their religion into our homes," a local official said.

The demands of village contradicts article 30 of the 1991 nation’s constitution which says, "Lao citizens have the right and freedom to believe or not to believe in religions."

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