Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note:

Nepal’s parliament has passed a bill that will make religious conversions illegal and will also establish a nationwide blasphemy law. Many advocates for religious freedom have spoken out against the passage of this bill including Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). According to CSW, the new blasphemy law may be abused to hurt religious minorities. Also, the anti-conversion law was likely passed to target the growth of Nepal’s Christian population, which is one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world. 

08/23/2017 Nepal (Premier) – The Nepali parliament has passed a bill criminalizing religious conversion and the ‘hurting of religious sentiment’.

Religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said the new law means evangelism will become illegal and religious minorities could end up falling foul of the law.

There are concerns it could be used to target religious minorities, as occurred in the Charikot case in June 2016, when eight Nepali Christians were charged with attempting to convert children after sharing a comic book on the story of Jesus.

Human rights defenders in Nepal are calling for the bill to be amended.

According to CSW, the wording of Clause 158 of section 9 of the bill, which criminalizes the ‘hurting of religious sentiment’, is similar to the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which make it a criminal offence to insult another’s religion.

The charity stated: “These laws are poorly defined and widely misused to settle personal scores, to target religious minorities or to further extremist agendas.

“Decades of misuse of the blasphemy laws have resulted in a situation where even voicing disagreement with these laws can lead to violence.”

CSW’s South Asia Advocacy, who can’t be named for security reasons, told Premier’s News Hour churches in Nepal have come up with creative strategies for sharing the gospel.

She said: “The Christian leadership in Nepal are planning to analyses how this law will impact them, and are coming up with a document to educate other leaders in the country on how they can still continue to share their faith in a way that respects the government’s laws.”

[Full Story]