Lao officials threaten Christians with expulsion comment (0)
October 3, 2013
HUAY, Laos — Local authorities in Laos are threatening Christians in three villages with expulsion unless they renounce their faith, with residents in one village calling the converts “pigs and dogs,” according to an advocacy organization.
In a public meeting of Christians and others in Huay village of Atsaphangthong District, Savannakhet Province, local officials Sept. 21 ruled that Christians will be expelled for converting away from indigenous beliefs and practices, a representative from Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) said. “The Christians met among themselves and made a decision to reject the authorities’ decision.”
At press time authorities had yet to respond to the Christians’ refusal to renounce their faith, said the HRWLRF representative. He added that the Christians have continued meeting for worship in homes in spite of the ruling. The order contradicts religious freedom guaranteed under Laos’ constitution, the Christians say.
In Nongdaeng village in Borikan District, Borikhamsai Province, a Christian told the HRWLRF representative that local officials threatened 11 families with eviction if they did not renounce Christ. The village chief had summoned representatives of the 11 families Aug. 30 and ordered all 50 of the Christians to recant their faith and return to their traditional (animist) religion. On Sept. 21, the Christian families gathered and decided to stand firm, continuing to practice their faith and exercising their religious freedom, he said.