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Laos: Christians evicted for refusing to renounce faith return, but can’t rebuild homes demolished by authorities

Persecution of Christians in Laos: it is clear from incidents of this kind that the constitution of Laos’ protection of the freedom of religion is essentially a dead letter, widely ignored by authorities.

We have also seen harassment by officials in Pakistan, China, India, and elsewhere. It places the Christians of Laos, and other countries where Christianity is considered alien, in a particularly precarious position, as the ones who should be protecting them are arrayed against them.

Please pray for all Christians in such a situation, that the Lord Jesus Christ would turn and transform the hearts of these anti-Christian authorities.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Laos, see here.

“Lao Christians Evicted From Their Village Return, But Can’t Build Homes,” by Max Avary, Radio Free Asia, December 4, 2020:

Seven Lao Christians evicted from their homes in southern Saravan province in October for refusing to renounce their faith have returned to their village, but are being refused permission to rebuild homes demolished by authorities when they were first thrown out, RFA has learned.

The seven, who are members of two families in the Pasing-Kang village of Saravan’s Ta-Oesy district, were evicted on Oct. 10 and forced to live rough in the forest before returning to their village in early November, one of the group told RFA’s Lao Service on Wednesday.

“But we’re still living in temporary huts in the village, and the village chief won’t allow us to build new homes,” the returning Christian said, adding that their former dwellings had been torn down earlier on the village chief’s instruction.

While staying in the forest, the group had lived in two small huts built just outside their village, and were constantly in short supply of food, rice, and water, he said.

“We relied on food aid donated by our fellow Christians, and after living in the forest for about a month, we decided to come back to our village.”

A second member of the group said that the seven who returned still depend on help from others for food and other necessities. “We worry about the future and about how we will be able to survive,” he said.

Treatment violates the law

Local authorities’ treatment of the group violates provisions of The Law on the Evangelical Church, approved and signed into law in Laos on Dec. 19, 2019, which allows Lao Christians the right to conduct services, preach throughout the country, and maintain contacts with believers outside Laos….

Though improvements in religious freedom conditions were observed in Laos last year, cases of abuse were still seen in remote rural areas, the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in a report released in May.

“In recent years, the number of people arrested or detained for their religious practices has decreased,” USCIRF said, adding that there were no reports in 2019 of central government authorities carrying out arrests, “although there were several cases at the local level.”…

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