Burma: 800 Christians Boycott “Religious Conversion Law” Draft
Church Leaders hold Prayer Meeting to Boycott “Religious Conversion Law” Draft
About 800 people attended a prayer meeting on June 16 to boycott the proposed religious conversion law. Supported by Buddhist extremists and the President, Burma’s controversial draft bill “Religious Conversion Law” would require Buddhist women to seek permission from their parents and the authorities before marrying outside Buddhist faith. In addition, according to the article, people found to be applying for conversion “with the intent of insulting or destroying a religion” can face imprisonment of up to two years. The Burmese government will accept comments on the law until June 20th.
06/18/2014 Burma (Burma News International)- Various church leaders in Hakha Town held a prayer meeting on June 16th to boycott the proposed Religious Conversion Law drafted by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. About 800 people attended the prayer meeting at Hakha’s Carson Hall, where Pastor Bawi Cung Lian said, “This draft can hinder the progress of Christianity. So we’re holding a prayer meeting to oppose the adoption of this law and change the mindset of concerned authorities and the President.”
The draft “Religious Conversion Law,” which was published in state-run media on May 27th, requires individuals to apply for permission to convert from one religion to another.
Many NGO’s also adamantly oppose the draft law on grounds that it infringes on human rights such as freedom of religion. On June 12th, the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) issued a statement saying that the draft law “grants township-level officials from various government departments [with] sweeping power” to determine if an applicant is exercising his/her own “free will” in deciding whether to convert to a different religion.