NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – More than two dozen Christian converts in a village in southern Laos could be expelled for their faith if government officials fail to keep local authorities from violating their constitutional rights, according to an advocacy group.
The Christians from eight families in Natahall village, in Savannakhet Province’s Phin District, were told to recant their faith three months ago, according to a representative with Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).
“The threats are very real … Officials are still intending to carry out the threats. The deadline for expulsion has passed,” said the HRWLRF source, who requested anonymity. “Christian residents of Natahall village are fighting hard to keep their homes as well as their constitutionally guaranteed right to believe in the Christian faith.”
Religious affairs officials from Phin District are holding discussions with the Natahall village chief, identified only as Amka, leaders of the local chapter of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and district police. The threat of expulsion, however, has not been withdrawn, the source said.
Local officials on Dec. 2 sent an eviction order to five Christian families, according to HRWLRF. On Dec. 8, 2013, the village chief publicly declared that the Christian families who had converted to Christianity would be held responsible for any deaths villagers might suffer as a result of spirits angered by violation of traditional beliefs and customs. Animism and ancestor worship are prevalent across Laos.The rest here.