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ICC Note: Christians in Nepal are becoming increasingly concerned by their country’s uncertain commitment to religious freedom. In 2015, Nepal adopted a constitution that declared the country as secular. Since then, Nepal has passed a law that criminalizes religious conversions and attacks by Hindu radicals has increased. Many Christians feel the new law regarding religious conversions is meant to target their community.

06/04/2018 Nepal (Mission Network News) – There have been significant changes in Nepal’s recent history which have introduced uncertainty for the nation’s future.

In 2015, the nation declared itself a secular state through a new constitution. It seemed that religious freedom was growing in Nepal. However, earlier this year Nepal also adopted a new law, criminalizing religious conversion. The law is about to go into effect in August.

And another big change just took place last month, as well. On May 17, Nepal’s two communist parties combined, creating the unified Nepal Communist Party (NCP). The (NCP) is reportedly the largest communist party in South Asia and now holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.

One of the chairmen of the new party is current Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. Oli served as prime minister previously in 2015-2016.

All of these changes have set Nepal on a new and unknown trajectory. Minority groups like Christians are prayerfully watching how these changes come into effect.

A partner with Asian Access says, “There is a little bit [of] fear in the Church. Right now [the] government is not interfering with the Church. There are other forces actually affecting the church and burning and bombing and actually bringing [fear] to the believers.”

So far, the government has not reacted to these attacks.

On the other hand, he says the government “always talks about the freedom of all religion, but at the same time they’re frightening very strongly.”

NGO’s in particular, both international and local, have felt threatened. The Asian Access partner says the government is watching certain foreign groups very closely.

“They have announced that all the [missionaries] will be watched carefully if they’re engaged in any conversion activity. And if they have found that [they are] illegally doing any of these type of things [they] will be deported and visa will not be renewed anymore.”

Local church leaders are seeking legal counsel to make sure they fully understand the current and upcoming laws on religion.

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org