12/13/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a report on Tuesday, December 11, entitled Anti-Conversion Laws on the Rise in South Asia. In that report, USCIRF detailed how anti-conversion laws in countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka are abused to curtail religious freedom for minorities.
“Anti-conversion laws are frequently abused by extremists who seek to prevent anyone from leaving the majority religion,” Nadine Maenza, a USCIRF Commissioner, stated in a press release. “These laws abrogate the religious freedom rights of minority communities, such as Hindus in Pakistan or Christians in Nepal, and as such they should be rescinded.”
Christians in South Asia, especially in India and Nepal, are frequently targeted by Hindu radicals abusing anti-conversion laws. In India, seven states have officially adopted a Freedom of Religion Act which, on paper, criminalizes religious conversion by force. In reality, Hindu radicals often falsely accuse Christians of forced conversions characterizing any charitable work by Christians as attempts to trick low-caste Hindus into converting.
In 2018, Nepal enacted a new law criminalizing any actions that would cause an individual to convert from one religion to another. Since then, at least four foreigners have been deported from Nepal in connection with charges of religious conversion.
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