Nonsawang Believers Being Deported for Believing in God

Nonsawang Village, Thapangthong District, Savannakhet Province
Advocacy Alert No. 07/2011
September 25, 2011

On July 16, 2011, the chief (Khamsing) and the religious affairs official of Nonsawang village in Thapangthong district of Savannakhet province pursued Christian religious eradication policy in their village. After unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Nonsawang believers (consisting of three families–Mrs. Pin and Mr. Bountha [Pin’s husband]; Pin’s father and mother; and, Pin’s brother and his wife) to denounce their faith, the village chief took away their right to live in Nonsawang and then deported all 10 believers from the village. Being forced from their home due to their refusal to give up their Christian faith, the believers left the village with their personal belongings in total devastation, while their empty house is still left standing until today.

After being forced out and without a place to live, they then went to stay at their rice paddies, which is 3 kilometers away from the Nonsawang village common. They now have built a temporary shelter for themselves, made of sticks and grass, in order to survive, while trying to figure out what to do next. Their children have subsequently experienced sickness due to the resulting hardship.

At the end of August 2011, the authorities (consisting of Nonsawan village chief, district police and governing officials) have continued their aggression against the Nonsawang believers and again have attempted to kick them out from their temporary shelter (grass hut) at their rice paddies. The village chief claims that their rice paddies fall within the jurisdiction of the village administration. Since they now have believed in the Christian faith, the chief has made a verdict that they have lost their right to stay in the village and must also give up even their rice paddies. The village chief stated to their believers: “You can stay in our village if you first cease to believe in God; if not, you must leave with all your family.” Nevertheless, the believers insisted in keeping their Christian faith because God has saved them and delivered from the power of evil.

All three families have chosen to believe in the Christian faith and, as a consequence, must face deportation from their home as well as tremendous hardship and uncertain future. The three families (10 believers) are as follows:

(1) Mr. Desorn (Pim’s father), age 56; (2) Mrs. Sornpen (Pim’s mother), age 50; (3) Mrs. Pin, age 25; (4) Mr. Bountha (also referred to as Mr. Bounchu), age 25; (5) Mr. Pai (Desorn’s daughter), age 23; (6) Mrs. Toey (Pai’s husband), age 22; (7) Mr. Teuy (Desorn’s son), age 25; (8) Mr. Somjai (Desorn’s son), age 18; (9) Ms. Boukham (Desorn’s daughter), age 10; and (10) Yona (Pai’s son), age 2.

The HRWLRF urges the Lao government to respect the Lao Constitution and the government-ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to cease all acts of aggression against Nonsawang Christian and allow them to return to their home and exercise their freedom to practice their religious faith.

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