Image: A woman in the Adult Literacy Project in Nepal which is aimed to provide basic education to Christians from very poor sections of the society, especially the Christians who are persecuted.
The situation for Christians in Nepal has deteriorated this year as the Criminal (Code) Act is used to target and accuse believers.
Though Nepal is constitutionally secular, religious minorities, including Christians, are not afforded the same protections and privileges as the Hindu majority, and are often denied registration for their places of worship.
Nepal’s Code forbids forceful conversion or evangelism. Those found guilty face five years in prison, along with large fines. However, these laws are being used to falsely accuse Christians of converting others in an attempt to silence them.
PERSECUTION IS ON THE RISE
Many incidents have occurred this year that have caused concern for the Christian community. A prayer tower built with permission was destroyed by the authorities with no prior notice. An arm of a prominent political party forced their way into a hospital run by a not-for-profit organisation and accused them of converting people in exchange for free treatment.
Organisations that print Bibles have been closed down. Several orphanages have been forced to close after being accused of converting children to Christianity. Other Christian organisations are under surveillance for allegedly running operations that lead to conversion. Christian leaders receive threats against themselves and their churches. One political party is even calling for Nepal to become a Hindu state.
Through these incidents, many Christians have been falsely accused and arrested. Some are still in custody. Others live in fear.
CHRISTIANITY IS ON THE RISE
But – praise God! – Christianity in Nepal has been on the rise in recent decades. The government became a secular state in 2008. Various changes to the constitution had made the growth of the church easier, and the country is now home to more than 8,000 Christian churches and over a million converts to Christianity. That’s about four per cent of the population.
Minority groups like the Dalits and the Kirats have been particularly drawn to Christianity. According to the Federation of National Christians in Nepal, Dalits make up 60 per cent of all Christians in the country. Dalits have historically been excluded from Nepal’s centuries-old caste system, and they are still ostracised as ‘Untouchables’; many are discovering that there is no caste discrimination in God’s eyes, ‘for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28).
God continues to move in Nepal, bringing more people to know Him and teaching them to follow Him, no matter the cost.
- For protection for Christians and their places of worship, in the face of increased persecution
- That hospital workers at Ananda Ban Hospital will feel safe and equipped to serve their community
- That Open Doors partners will reach those in need with practical and spiritual support.
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Nepal through:
- Bibles and Christian literature distribution
- Emergency aid relief
- Socio-economic development
- Literacy classes
- Legal assistance
Send Bibles and food to persecuted Christians
- Every HK$50 can put a Bible in the hands of a believer.
- Every HK$400 can enable a persecuted Christian to earn a living by starting a small business.