Huay Village, Atsaphangthong District, Savannakhet Province
Advocacy Alert No. 04/2013
September 25, 2013
Authorities in Huay village of Atsaphangthong district, Savannakhet province, ruled that Christians must renounce their faith or face expulsion due to having newly adopted their religion/belief of choice and are having corporate worship in homes. This ruling was passed down in the official village meeting on September 21, 2013, where villagers, consisting of both non-Christians and Christians, were asked to attend.
The Christians have since rejected the ruling, claiming that their right to religious freedom is guaranteed under the current constitution.
The HRWLRF calls into question the Lao governmentâ€™s understanding and sincerity about complying with the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Laos in 2009. Obviously the right to adopt a religion/belief of choice as well as the right to manifest that religion/belief in corporate worship is upheld in Article 18 of the Covenant. Any form of coercion impairing the freedom to have and manifest the religion/belief of choice is also condemned in the Covenant.
The HRWLRF urges the Lao government to respect the right of the Lao people to religious freedom and the accompanying right to gather for corporateworship as guaranteed in the Lao constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.