Relaymedia

Christians in Laos given ultimatum to give up their faith

( [email protected] ) Mar 10, 2004 02:58 PM EST

At a meeting in Donthapad village in southern Laos, Christians were told that they would be punished by death if they did not give up their faith or leave the village. Christians in Laos have been subject to a particularly harsh wave of persecution since 1998.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) Advocacy Director, Alexa Papdouris commented, “These latest threats against Christians in Laos are deeply concerning. That Christians should be threatened with death and have their means of livelihood confiscated simply for standing true to their religious convictions is an outrage. We have been encouraged by progress over religious freedom in Laos over the last year, but these recent incidents are a serious setback and a reminder of the vulnerability of Christians to drastic and arbitrary treatment for adhering to their faith.”

One Christian in the village wrote a plea for help stating: “The officials’ purpose is to totally eradicate Christianity. They are threatening to destroy our homes and to burn our homes We are not able to travel anywhere. We are kept in an area confinement. They keep watch on us. If we do not move from our village, they said they would kill us because the whole village agrees with them.”

CSW has asked its supporters to contact their MPs and MEPs to urge them to raise concerns about religious freedom in Laos. Since 1998, many Christians in Laos have been imprisoned and widespread pressure and persecution has been implemented across the country. Believers have been coerced and forced to sign forms abandoning their religion. Some have been forced to prove that they have given up their faith by participating in animist rituals, smoking, and drinking alcohol and blood. International attention has helped bring about a reduction in the pressure on believers, but persecution continues and has been especially harsh in Attapeu recently.