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12/08/2020 Laos (International Christian Concern) – The seven Lao Christians who were evicted from their homes in southern Saravan province in October for not renouncing their faith, have finally returned to their village. However, local authorities refused to grant them permission to rebuild their homes demolished after their eviction.

According to Radio Free Asia, these Christians are members of two families in the Pasing-Kang village of Saravan’s Ta-Oesy district. They were kicked out on Oct. 10 and forced to live in the forest under harsh conditions for a while, before returning to their village in early November.

A member told RFA that at the moment, “[…] We’re still living in temporary huts in the village, and the village chief won’t allow us to build new homes.” Their former dwellings had been torn down earlier under the village chief’s directive.

Another Christian shared that they still depend on help from others for food and other necessities after their return. “We worry about the future and about how we will be able to survive,” he said.

While The Law on the Evangelical Church came into effect last December to protect Christians’ rights to worship, in reality, many local authorities at lower level in Laos still do not respect religious freedom for Christians.

A member of the Evangelical Church in Saravan province told RFA, “We have reported this situation to the provincial authorities and demanded justice for these seven [Christian] followers, but they say the matter must be handled by the district authorities first.”

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.