Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 15 September 2019
Laos’ constitution guarantees its citizens “the right to believe or not believe in religions”. However, the document limits state protection to “lawful activities” by Buddhists and followers of other religions and provides no clarification of the term “lawful activities”.
Sadly the international community often overlooks religious freedom violations in Laos. Christians are often targeted, as some officials consider Christianity to be a foreign religion at odds with traditional Lao culture.
Christians have reported cases of arbitrary detention, forced evictions, confiscation of land and livestock, harassment and discrimination. Converts to Christianity often find themselves in a particularly precarious situation.
However, the religious freedom situation in Laos has seen some positive changes in recent years and the last decade has seen a reduction in the number of long-term Christian prisoners of conscience.