Lao Officials Deny Schooling for 10 Children of Christian Believers in Linsai Village Due to Christian Faith

Liansai Village, Ad‐Saphangthong District, Savannakhet Province
Advocacy Alert No. 02/2010
February 12, 2010

The arrest of Thao Oun, an elder of Boukham Church, on September 3, 2009, at his residence in Liansai village, Ad‐Saphangthong district of Savannakhet province, Laos, forcing him at gunpoint to the Saybouthong sub‐district office and charging him with bringing destruction to the Lao nation and government due to his embracing of the Christian faith, resulted in a number of punishment measures against the Christians. One of the measures was the denial of schooling for children of Christian parents who attending were Liansai village school (see article).

It is now five months later since the Lao authorities had illegally exercised their power to keep children of Christian parents from attending school, and, today, the children are still banned from the right to education. The names of eight of 10 children affected are: (1) Sutta, male, age 13, 8th grade; (2) Kongmanee, female, age 12, 4th grade; (3) Laemthong, male, age 13, 7th grade; (4) Saipeen, age 18, 10th grade; (5) Dow, age 8, 8th grade; (6) Lek, male, age 15, 10th grade; (7) Tukki, female, age 15, 8th grade; and, (8) Ling, female, age 9, 8th student.

The denial of the children’s right to education on the basis of their and their family continual embracing the Christian faith have been directed by Lao officials, including Linsai villag chief, Saybounthong sub‐district chief, and Ad‐Saphangthong district of Savannakhet. All the children of the Christian parents in Liansai village have expressed in unison that the reason they have persisted in their Christian faith is because it is a faith that is based on truth and love.

The denial of education to children on the basis of religious belief is in direct violation of Article 15 of the Lao Constitution (1991), Article 3 of the Lao Law on Education (2000), as well as Article 13 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified 2000), Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified 1990), Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified 1990), and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified 2009)

The Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, US State Department, UK Foreign Office, European Commission and Secretariat, and the Lao government to allow immediately and unconditionally these children of Christian parents to return to school in Liansai village as well as to ensure that further abuse of power by Lao officials in Liansai village, Saybouthong sub‐district, and Ad‐Saphanthong district be prevented.

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