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    » 02/25/2011, 00.00

    LAOS

    Food denied to 65 Laotian farmers to force them to renounce Christianity



    Government officials seized the homes and land of 18 families, herded into a temporary camp without food. Neighbours are prevented from giving them food. For the Communist regime, they must abjure their faith in Christ. Pro-human rights activist calls on the government to uphold the constitution.
     Vientiane (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Laotian authorities have driven 65 Christian farmers from their village because they refused to abjure their faith. Herded into a temporary camp, they risk starvation because local officials have destroyed their crops and have prevented food from reaching the group. Local sources say the government plans to starve them “until the give up their Christian faith.”

    Eighteen farming families are currently being held at a camp outside Katin village, Ta-Oi District, in the southern province of Salavan. The Christians were driven out in two separate incidents last year. First, a group of 11 were forced out in January 2010, and then another seven were removed in December.

    Christian sources in Laos, cited by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said that village officials are refusing to allow the Christians to enter the village to farm their land. An area that had been farmed around the camp has been destroyed. They also instructed local families in surrounding villages not to help or provide food to the group. Locals believe these measures are an attempt to starve the Christian families into giving up their Christian faith.

    Despite appeals by the international community, the situation does not appear to be improving. In fact, one man has already died after being driven from his village.

    CSW’s National Director Stuart Windsor said, “CSW calls upon the Lao government to adhere to the constitutional protection afforded to all its citizens by allowing the Katin villagers to return to their homes.”

    Most people in Communist-ruled Laos are Buddhist (67 per cent). Out of a population of some six million, 0.7 per cent is Catholic.

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    See also

    07/09/2004 LAOS
    Violence against Christians in Vientiane and Luang Phrabang


    22/12/2011 LAOS
    Eight Lao Christians in prison for Christmas
    The authorities have not yet charged them. They were detained for “organising” a celebration with 200 Church members. Police and local village officials meet to decide their fate as religious freedom continues to be denied in the Communist nation.

    15/03/2012 LAOS
    Christians persecuted in Laos as violations of religious freedom continue
    A new convert, the only Christian in a village, faced with an alternative: leave the faith or leave his home and property. At the moment his fate is unknown. In another district, 10 Christian families victims of a deportation order. The Laotian authorities persecute the Protestants considered "part of the US conspiracy".

    20/02/2014 LAOS
    Censorship, abductions and abuses: Laos is Southeast Asia's "most repressive" regime
    Activists slam Laos for having a "very dictatorial, rights-repressing government" in terms of civil rights and individual liberties. Sombath Somphone's disappearance is warning to all activists and opponents of the regime. A Lao citizen confirms that no one can talk about politics or criticise the ruling Communist Party. Even religion is under tight state control.

    28/03/2014 LAOS
    Lao Christian families who refused to convert to Buddhism flee village
    HRWLRF activists denounce that Christians were under considerable pressures to abandon their faith . For the authorities, they left the village of their "own free will". Now they have rebuilt a small community in a new, safer area, with full freedom of worship.



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