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Christian girls forced into marriage in Colombia's indigenous communities so they reject faith
Christian girls in Colombia's local and more isolated communities are being intimidated into forced marriages in a bid to make them renounce Christianity.
Indigenous communities make up around 3.4 per cent of Colombia's population and do not tend to prescribe to Catholicism or the other main religions. They are more detached, more tribal and often have their own versions of religion and Christians are seen as traitors to their traditional beliefs and their community.
The Christian anti-persecution charity Open Doors says Christian girls are regularly forced to marry men from their community to prevent them meeting with their Christian family or receiving teaching, and to ensure their children are not Christian.
Indigenous communities have had more autonomy and independence since the 1990s, when laws were passed to let them create their own policies, something Open Doors says has legally allowed violent and discriminatory behaviour towards their Christian members.
In particular, women are seen as an economic burden so married-off young and Christian women are even more vulnerable with their faith being a reason for isolation, early marriage, imprisonment, the confiscation of property and abuse. They may also be denied access to education and health care.
According to Open Doors, one 17 year old girl is being held by her community in the mountains, isolated and unable to communicate after she was summoned several years ago to a hearing in front of her local authorities who tried to coerce her to renounce her Christian faith in public.
Colombia is number 47 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the countries where it is hardest to live as a Christian.
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