World Watch List: 32
Leader: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Population: 29 million
Christian: 1.2 million
Main Religion: Hinduism
Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Source of Persecution: Religious Nationalism
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
”In spite of my struggles, I believed God was with me and was still answering my prayers. Even though I was despised and kept at a distance by my relatives, I felt God’s presence in my life. Only because of His strength, I was able to overcome all those difficulties.”
– Komal, a Christian widow in Nepal with four children
Source of persecution: Religious nationalism
Since its first entry into the 2018 World Watch List, Christians in Nepal have been experiencing intense persecution for their faith, primarily driven by radical Hindu groups who want Nepal to be a Hindu state again, just like their neighbour India. These groups have close ties with the Hindutva groups in India. So far, they have not been able to achieve their goal, but they have not relented in their attack on Christians and the church. Believers are threatened, harassed, and beaten, causing some to flee their homes and villages. Christians who are active in evangelism are especially targeted.
Remarkable growth of the church
According to its Constitution, Nepal is a secular state and religious freedom is guaranteed, which means people can practice their religion and culture freely. However, the same Constitution prohibits conversion from one religion to another, as well as leading someone else to convert. Christian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are accused of “unethical conversion”. They have to apply for approval for all projects, and any that local authorities deem to be “proselytising” will be banned.
Since the country become a secular state in 2008, the number of Christians in Nepal has grown remarkably, especially among the lower social strata groups. Believers from a Hindu background make up the largest group of Christians – they also face the harshest persecution as their families would also put pressure on them.
- Pray for protection and endurance for new believers when members of their own family turn on them, often throwing them out of the family home.
- For Christians who are isolated in their faith and have to worship in secret because of opposition from their families. Pray that they will find fellowship of other Christians.
- Thank God for believers who continue sharing the gospel despite the restrictions. Pray for the protection of those who have been arrested for doing so, and that they will be dealt with compassionately by the justice system.