Protect religious freedom in Nepal: Let Christians share their faith!
UPDATE 12/07/16: Great news! The campaign we launched in the summer bore fruit, and the pastors who were arrested in Nepal for preaching the gospel have been released. Our contact in Nepal who was actively working for their release gave a big thank you to everyone who signed the petition:
Thanks to each person who prayed, sent in their petition, especially CitizenGo . . . Together we are very strong! Thank you!! A RESOUNDING THANK YOU TO JESUS!!!
Religious liberty is under attack in Nepal. Last week, at least seven Christians were arrested and two of them were beaten.
Distributing handkerchiefs to students along with Bible handbooks titled "A Great Story." They were accused of violating Nepal's new constitutional provision, Article 26(3), which states that "no person shall . . . convert a person of one religion to another religion, or disturb the religion of other people." The provision is vague about what qualifies as a violation of the law.
Local politicians reported the Christian school leaders to authorities, leading to their arrest. Government officials told the Christians that they could be released from prison if they promised not to give religious literature to students ever again.
The seven Christians have reportedly been released, though it is unclear whether any such assurances were made.
Nepal is a predominately Hindu nation where religious minorities comprise only 1.5% and 3% of the population. According to official records, there were about 375,000 Nepalese Christians in 2011, but Christian leaders in the country believe there may be as many 2.3 million.
Christians are often persecuted for their faith by Nepal's Hindu majority. Nepal's new constitutional provision particularly affects evangelical Christian communities. A Christian who shares his or her faith with a neighbor could be charged with violating the constitution.
The Nepalese government must honor its commitments under international law to protect religious freedom for all its citizens. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Sharing one's belief in Jesus with others is an essential tenet of the Christian faith, instructed by Jesus himself in the Great Commission ("Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...").
Sign this petition to urge the Nepalese government to protect religious freedom for all citizens and to permit Christians to peacefully share their faith with others.