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Scores of Hmong Christians arrested and evicted for refusing to give up their religion

ICC Note

Six Hmong families, totaling 25 people, were evicted from their village homes when they refused to renounce Christianity and convert back to Animism, the ancient faith of their people. In July, two Hmong men from the same village were arrested when they refused to deny Christ and renounce their faith. The families were forced to leave behind everything they owned including home, land and their meager belongings.

11/16/2014 Laos (Asia News)-Six Hmong Christian families have been forced to leave their village in central Laos after refusing to renounce their faith, this according to family friends and other members of their ethnic group.

The six families, consisting of 25 people, were driven out of their homes in Ko Hai village, in Khamkeut district, Borikhamxay province, because they would not revert to their ancestral faith. Most residents in the village and neighbouring towns practice traditional religion.

Local sources state that local authorities never accepted the decision of the six families to embrace Christianity and sought every way to have “them revert back to animism”.

Witnesses report that village leaders had two men from Hmong families arrested in July and held for at least a month, because they refused to renounce their Christian faith.

Once the men were released, the authorities tried to force them to return to animism, but the Christians refused and were forced to leave their homes.

Between late August and mid-September, local authorities evicted the Christians and seized their homes; however, the story only emerged recently as a result of anonymous complaints by locals.

The six families in question were moved to the village of Hoi Keo, also in Khamkeut District, near the town of Lak Sao.

The situation was made that much worse by the death of one of the elders, the 62-year-old patriarch of one of the families, shortly after he was forced out of his ancestral home and village.

Because of forced relocation, the Christians lost their old homes, land and the few assets at their disposal.

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