REX/Xinhua News Agency
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Obama urged to highlight Laos Christian persecution at ASEAN summit

Wed 07 Sep 2016
By Alex Williams

An advocacy charity's calling on world leaders including Barack Obama to speak out against Christian persecution in Laos during a summit there.

Speaking as the US President joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in the capital city Vientiane (below), Release International says believers in Laos are dying for their faith.

Wikimedia Commons

 

ASEAN member states:

Brunei

Cambodia

Indonesia

Laos

Malaysia

Myanmar

Philippines

Singapore

Thailand

Vietnam

The charity is helping Laos pastors attend seminars across the border in neighbouring Thailand because church leaders wanting to train "cannot do so safely in Laos".

It says Christians in Laos are "caught between a communist government and a widespread belief in Buddhism and animism", and that believers have also been forced from their homes, arrested and rejected by their families.

Speaking about the opposition she encountered after she became a Christian in Laos, Miriam told Release: "Most of the people in the village believe in spirits, so they were upset.

"The local police took us to the village office. They spoke bad words to us and tried to force us to deny our faith."

Chief Executive of Release International Paul Robinson said: "The ASEAN summit is an occasion to celebrate the advances made by South East Asian nations. It's also time to take stock and see what remains to be achieved.

"Look no further than the persecution of Christians in the host nation - by its own citizens and by the authorities. Release urges Laos to stop the persecution and guarantee freedom of faith for Christians."

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