Nepal Deports Five Foreign Citizens Using National Anti-Conversion Law
03/13/2020 Nepal (International Christian Concern) – In February 2020, authorities in Nepal deported five foreign citizens due to allegations that they violated the country’s controversial anti-conversion law. According to this law, anyone that causes an individual to convert from one religion to another can be imprisoned, fined, or deported from Nepal.
According to local media sources, the District Administration Office of Gorkha expelled two Japanese and three Taiwanese individuals for preaching Christianity in February. According to Chief Officer Surendra Poudel, the five Christians were spreading Christianity in the Gorkha district on tourist visas.
In 2015, Nepal adopted a new constitution after seven years of debate. In that constitution, Nepal was established as a secular nation that affirms the religious freedom rights of all its citizens. However, within the same article establishing religious freedom, Nepal adopted constitutional language that would limit their citizens’ rights to share their religion with others.
Article 26 (3) states, “no person shall… convert another person from one religion to another or [perform] any act or conduct that may jeopardize [another’s] religion.” Later, this restriction was codified by a criminal bill that added, “Nobody should hurt the religious sentiment of any caste, ethnic community or class by writing, through voice/talk or by a shape or symbol in any other such manner.”
Effectively, Nepal limited religious freedom with the adoption of a nationwide anti-conversion and blasphemy law. Unfortunately, this law has been widely abused already, especially against Nepal’s Christian community.
In 2019 alone, 17 Christians have been arrested and charged under Nepal’s blasphemy and anti-conversion law. This has included several foreigners, including two Americans, who were arrested and deported because they allegedly shared their faith.
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