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ICC Note: Although the Southeast Asian nation of Laos technically provides in its constitution for all citizens to practice whatever faith they choose, discrimination against Christian families is still common. In a recent incident, a village leader in the central part of the country tried to ban Christianity and threatened to expel five Christian families from their homes. Despite this, the report indicates that more are joining the faith as the families appeal to higher level authorities for protection. In past incidents, Christians have been driven from their homes and land. 
3/14/2014 Laos (HRWLRF) – On December 2, 2013, five Christian families (namely Mr. A-boun, family of 4; Mr. Lahaw, family of 4, Mr. Bountun, family of 4; Mrs. Achak, family of 2, and Mr. Sorn, family of 10) received eviction order from the Natahall village authorities (namely, Mr. Amka, village chief; and Mr. Juayjong, village religious affairs official) and the Phin district police stationed at Saybanghiang sub-district (namely, Mr. Bounthong). The 5 families, who are legal residents of Natahall village, decided to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed religious right in embracing the Christian faith. However, acting in contrary to the Lao constitution, these Lao authorities deemed that believing in the Christian faith was contrary to local religious beliefs and customs and therefore acted to ban the Christian faith from the village and expulse village residents who are Christians from the village if they continue to exercise their religious freedom to embrace the Christian faith.
After Natahall Christians insisted on and defended their religious right to the Christian faith, the village chief took further action in order to coerce the Christians to abandon their faith. On December 8, the village chief publically declared that the Christians would be personally responsible for any death coming upon Natahall villagers because the village chief and the village elders maintained that believing in God violated the village’s longstanding spirit beliefs and customs. The village chief was prepared to issue legal documents for relocating Christians to other Christian communities in the province.
Amidst continuous threats by the officials, 3 more families have joined the Christian faith, totally 8 families who now adhere to the Christian beliefs. In a recent effort to stop the spread of the Christian faith in Natahall and eradicate it from taking root, the village chief, along with the Phin district police stationed in Tathai sub-district, summoned the 8 Christian families for a 4-hour meeting on March 11, 2014. The officials jeered the Natahall Christians and directed them to abandon their Christian faith, stating that the Christians are believing in a foreign American religion. The officials said to the Christians, “We fought to rid of the Americans before and now you are leading their religion into our homes.”

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