Christians driven from their home in Laos
Barnabas Fund, 25 February 2022
Villagers drove a Christian family of twelve from their home in southern Laos in anger at the family’s practice of a “foreign” religion.
On 9 February the family home in Savannakhet province, was burned down in the attack. Tensions were already apparent after the family’s father died on 4 December 2021. Villagers physically prevented the family from using the village cemetery for the burial.
The family had also been evicted from the village in 2017. “They don’t want us here. They say they don’t like the religion of a foreign country.”
An official for the district gave assurances that a police investigation into the incidents was underway but suggested that their “initial information is that this is a personal conflict, not a religious one”.
Other Christians pointed out that the village chief had participated in the attack at the funeral and lamented the lack of response from local authorities.
“The police always side with village authorities and other villagers too, so we have nowhere else to turn for help.”
Christians have been the victims of similar attacks in rural areas of Laos, a communist state with a predominantly Buddhist population.
The country’s Law on the Evangelical Church, approved and signed into law in December 2019, gives Lao Christians the right to conduct services and preach throughout the country and maintain contacts with believers outside Laos.