Katin village Officials Threatened to Evict Six More Christian Families Due to Christian Faith

Katin Village, Ta-Oyl District, Saravan Province
Advocacy Alert No. 03/2010
November 8, 2010

The eleven evicted families of Katin believers are still remaining in the same location to where they were being forced. On July 22-23, 2010, officials from the Saravan provincial and Ta-oyl district religious affairs office met with the eleven families in their temporary shelters in order to persuade them to return to Katin village from where they had been evicted. The Katin believers agreed to return if the following five terms/conditions were met:
1) The designation of separate area or zone in Katin village common for setting residence for believers so as to avoid conflicts with nonbelievers;
2) The cessation of all forms persecution against Katin believers;
3) The granting of freedom and right to schooling for children belonging to Christian families;
4) The acknowledgment of right to be buried in the village cemetery; and,
5) The compensation for six homes that were destroyed during the expulsion of the eleven families in January 2010.

After officials from Saravan provincial and Ta-Oyl district religious affairs had received the terms/conditions, they went and met with the Katin village officials and villagers and instructed to implement religious freedom according to Decree 92. Subsequently, the Katin village officials and villagers rejected the terms/conditions proposed by Katin believers. Instead, Katin officials insisted that Katin village would only allow back the eleven evicted families with one condition—the Katin believers must give up their Christian faith. The Katin officials further threatened that if the provincial and district officials move the elevan families back to Katin village against the village’s will, they would shoot every returning believer.

Now, the Katin village has renewed their efforts to eradicate Christianity in Katin village. Recently, the Katin village chief, village security force, and village religious affairs have threatened to evict six additional Katin families of believers from their homes in Katin village immediately if the believers continue to embrace their Christian faith. The eviction is expected to take place immediately after rice harvest after the first of the year (2011). Two of these six families became believers during the time when the elevan families were forced out by gunpoint in January 2010. Subsequently, four more families became Christians when the officials from the provincial government went to Katin village in July (2010) and instructed villagers about religious freedom according to the Decree 92 which governs religious affairs in Laos.

The Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 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 the six families of Katin believers to continue living in their homes in Katin village and practice their religious freedom that is guaranteed by the Lao constitution and the Decree 92.

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