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NepalMap reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE for the Map Legend.
After finally permitting Christians to bury their dead in Nepal, the former Hindu nation is showing signs of change with a pattern of religious lenience that other restrictive nations would do well to follow.
Expectations were high when Nepal was declared a secular state in May 2006, after more than two centuries of Hindu monarchy. However, in these six years of the nation’s transition to a democracy, the new leadership has been reluctant to give equal rights to the Christian minority.
Christians in Nepal have a dilemma. They have nowhere to bury their dead. Most Hindu’s cremate their dead, and Christians are only allowed to bury their dead on designated burial grounds. Except that the government has not designated enough to even begin meeting the need, leaving Christians with a dilemma when it comes to honoring their loved ones with a Christian burial. "Either the government should say that Nepali Christians aren’t Nepali citizens, or it should give them their rights."- Laxmi Pariyar, Christian member of Nepal’s dissolved Constituent Assembly
In 2009 a church in Nepal was bombed by an extremist Hindu group. The pastor of that church has received another threat, “The Hindu extremist said that he would plant a bomb at our church if we did not help his group. But when I asked what type of help he wanted he hung up.” The police are taking this seriously and have already begun an investigation.
A Hind extremist group called the Nepal Defense Army (NDA) has been threatening Christians and their Churches. They claim, “Nepal is a Hindu nation and Christians and Muslims are not welcome.” Churches have had to hire security guards. Police have begun investigations and say they will protect places of worship in Nepal.
Persecution in Nepal has lessened since 2008, but it still remains. Those at the highest risk are former Hindus who have converted to Christianity. With 95% of Christians in Nepal coming out of Hinduism, the question now is how to get the Bible in their hands.
500 people were “ignored” as they gathered for prayer inside Kathmandu’s oldest Protestant church while authorities tore down the exterior walls, causing damage to the interior of the building, to make way for a road expansion. Several other buildings on the property were destroyed and the police were deployed to keep the peace and stop the Christians from interfering with the road work. One church member said, "The authorities have no respect for religious sensibilities…and ignore the importance of faith for us."
Thanks to the support of Christian rights’ advocates, government officials in Nepal have agreed to build a retaining wall for a church in a remote village. Reconstruction on a road a put the church building in danger of collapsing and the government had plans to do something about it “ later.” The members of the church said, “Some locals started saying that Christians were rich enough to even build a wall of gold and the government had other things to do.” This is why Christians gathered to form a public outcry, resulting in the government agreeing to put in a retaining wall now instead of later.
Two men in Nepal were arrested for threatening to blow up churches, murder Christians and kidnap Pastors. What a relief to have them in custody. It’s refreshing to see the police take these threats seriously, stopping the individuals before something truly horrible could happen
This is an editorial piece written by a man in Nepal. In it he refers to Christians as “criminals” who have come to Nepal to “suck the blood” of Hindus and Buddhists. He calls for former Buddhists and Hindus, who have become Christians, to reconvert back to their original religion and “chase away the Christian destructive force for the sake of sovereign Nepal.” While this way of thinking is dangerous in and of itself, and is in part the root of persecution, it is even more dangerous in Nepal since the failure of the Constituent Assembly.
We have been watching Nepal and it’s struggle for a new constitution. Things fell through last week. Danny Punnose summarized the situation well: “the present government is not ruling the government anymore. There will be a caretaker government managing things until November when elections will take place where they're going to re-elect everyone back into the government…” We join the Christians there in wondering what the future will hold. They ask us to pray for them, saying, “we need wisdom…”
The last four years did not produce a ratified constitution for Nepal. It was supposed to ensure the rights of Christians, but now everything is up in the air as now a new “constituent assembly” must be voted in. Nepali authorities and politicians have signed a six-point pledge agreement in support of Christians, but as a Catholic Church representative states, , "People are fed up with politicians and changing governments. Most Christians are unsure whether the government will implement this agreement fairly nor not." From here we wait and see, hoping it won’t take another four years simply to produce another failure.
The Maoist insurgency left behind a mess of instability when it ended in 2006. Since then the government of Nepal has been attempting to form a new constitution. Unfortunately, the many times extended deadline (think: four year process) came and went with no new constitution. Now the country is in a precarious position. Will the quest for peace end? Will the “secular state” status, “intended to protect the rights of religious minorities” stay or will the Hindus who oppose it win? This article gives a good overview of the struggle and where things stand now. We can only pray that this does not end badly.
The date is rapidly approaching when Nepal’s new constitution will come into play. Tribal groups want the country partitioned on ethnic lines, Hindu’s want it divided on religious lines, and Christians are praying that their rights as minorities will be represented in the implementation of the new constitution. The constitution comes into effect May 28th . The days leading up to this have been full of violence, based on ethnicity and religion, despite the plea for non-violence from Christian, Hindu and Muslim leaders.
Catholics gathered for prayer in Nepal. "May the new constitution be promulgated in time and may secularism be practiced well," said Chirendra Satyal, a Catholic media officer
The Apostolic Vicar calls for Nepal's new constitution to give full freedom of religion to its people.
"...proposals on religious freedom for the new constitution would include restrictions on religious conversions, which are inconsistent with the international human rights framework and leave little space for interpreting conversions as a positive choice."
The government adopts important security measures to protect churches and places of worship.
Nepal is currently attempting to finalize a new constitution for the country. The current constitution virtually bans individuals from converting from one faith to another, and in the past Nepal's Christians have faced persecution for faith related activities. Last October, ICC met with Congressional offices and urged U.S lawmakers to press Nepal for a constitution guaranteeing religious liberty.
Will a lack of official recognition by the Nepalese government expose Christians to more hardships?
A Nepali Christian writes to encourage the persecuted church in Iran and Afghanistan.
While persecution is not as common as it used to be in the 1990s, it is still a major issue for believers there. Attacks against Christians are especially frequent when one converts from the Hindu or Buddhist faith.
In recent years, Nepal has recorded several murders and attacks against religious minorities, usually at the hands of Hindu extremists. In 2008, gunmen belonging to a lunatic fringe shot and killed Fr. Prakah John, a Jesuit priest.
This method is particularly effective in predominantly Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist countries. A newspaper enters many homes where Christians might never be allowed to enter. By placing Gospel messages as paid advertisements in local newspapers around the world, the ministry can give the good news of the Gospel to hundreds of thousands of people who may have no other opportunity to learn about Christ.
On 22 November, a crude bomb was detonated outside the Kathmandu offices of the United Mission to Nepal (UMN), a Christian charity. There were no casualties or damage to the building. According to news reports, leaflets found at the site had been signed by a senior member of the NDA, named as Aditya. On 28 November 2011, security personnel defused a more powerful bomb outside the entrance to the Assemblies of God Navajiwan Church of the in Kupondole district of Kathmandu, although nobody has claimed responsibility for this bomb.
Support wives and children of imprisoned or martyed pastorsread more
Spread the gospel by supporting underground pastorsread more
Save women from abduction and sexual exploitationread more
Help rebuild communities devastated by persecutionread more
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ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.