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Christian families ordered to leave Laos village or face jail

South East Asia

Christian families ordered to leave Laos village or face jail

A Christian home in Laos. Christians in rural areas are particularly subject to persecution by local authorities. Photo credit: Barnabas Fund

A regional governor has given 20 Christian families one month to leave their village in northern Laos or face jail after claiming Christianity is a “foreign religion”.

Despite local church leaders pointing out that Christianity is not illegal in Laos, the local governor insisted he would “not allow” believers in the area. The deadline for them to leave will expire in mid-December.

In the face of the threat of imprisonment, five families have given up their faith, but according to Barnabas Fund, the rest are  “holding strong”, adding, “The main thing we need now is prayer”.

Laos’ Communist government imposes tight restrictions on religious organisations, although Buddhists, who make up the majority of the population, enjoy comparative religious freedom in parts of the country. Local officials are typically highly suspicious of Christians, partly because of a perceived connection with the West.